IS militants moving south despite Kurdish encirclement, Russian military says

Men that fled areas of clashes surrender to Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters north of Raqqa city, Syria March 8, 2017. REUTERS/Rodi Said/File Photo

Islamic State (IS) militants continue to cross the Euphrates River in Syria from their stronghold of Raqqa despite being encircled by Kurdish and US-led coalition forces, the Russian Defence Ministry said Thursday.

The ministry said in a statement the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), together with the US, UK and French special forces, have “virtually blocked” Raqqa from the north.

“At the same time, the SDF stopped its offensive, resulting in ruptures in the IS’ ring of encirclement. Using this, the terrorists cross the Euphrates and seek to transfer their formations in the southern direction of Syria,” it said.