The Latest: Russia, Syria urge US to let refugees leave camp

Russia and Syria have urged the U.S. to allow tens of thousands of people to leave a refugee camp in southern Syria

4 p.m.

Russia and Syria have urged the U.S. to allow tens of thousands of people to leave a refugee camp in southern Syria.

In a joint statement Wednesday, the Russian and Syrian refugee coordination centers accused the U.S. of keeping 40,000 people in the Rukban camp against their will.

They pointed to poor conditions in the camp near the border with Jordan and said that U.S.-affiliated rebels have effectively kept people there hostage.

The statement rejected the U.S. argument that Syria can't provide safe accommodation to residents of the camp, arguing that the Syrian government has built facilities in several provinces to accommodate people from Rukban. It emphasized that Damascus has guaranteed their full security.

Russian and Syrian officials urged the U.N. to intervene and help evacuate the camp.

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2:15 p.m.

Civilians are continuing to emerge from the last shred of territory held by the Islamic State group in Syria, including some defiant wives and children of militants from the extremist group.

There were no signs of combat on Wednesday to allow for evacuations out of the IS-held pocket in the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz.

The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, the group spearheading the fight against IS in Syria, has been applying a mix of military operations to put pressure on the militants who refuse to surrender, followed by pauses that allow for the evacuation of civilians.

A group of women seen at a receiving area set up in the desert, where they were screened by SDF officials, remained defiant, praising the Islamic State group and screaming angrily at journalists.