Thousands of jihadists flee ISIS’ final stronghold as Baghuz is pounded

Western-backed forces on Wednesday claimed Isil’s caliphate was in its “final moments” after thunderous shelling on its last patch of territory in eastern Syria prompted a wave of jihadists to surrender.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) estimated around 3,000 had walked out of the shrinking Baghuz pocket in the last 48 hours, most of whom fighters, suggesting a coordinated surrender.

The final band of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) militants – estimated now to be in their hundreds – still managed later in the day to launch two counterattacks.