The last remaining Islamic State fighters in Raqqa are reportedly trying to negotiate a deal to get out using human shields as coalition forces close in. After the U.S.-led coalition announced that dozens of ISIS fighters surrendered on Saturday, a local official cited by Reuters said the remaining fighters were in talks with tribal elders on a deal that would allow them to flee to another ISIS-held city in Syria. Those who didn’t surrender are now “looking for a plan where they leave and take civilian hostages with them to another place far from the city, and then release the civilians,” Omar Alloush, a member of the Raqqa Civil Council, told Reuters. The U.S.-led coalition, which earlier said about 100 ISIS fighters had surrendered, has demanded that jihadist fighters turn themselves in without any conditions. Fighters from the group have reportedly been cut off from their leadership and left with a dwindling supply of weapons, though the U.S.-led coalition said it expects difficult days ahead as the city is retaken. The Syrian Democratic Forces have been fighting to reclaim the city—once the Islamic State’s de facto capital—since June.
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