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  1. ITV Report

'Don't judge too harsh' - Canadian woman who escaped IS pleads to come home as forces make last push against militants

Over the weekend, ITV News witnessed Kurdish fighters on the frontline as they made their final push on what remains of the territory held by the Islamic State group.

The offensive is being led by the US-backed SDF and is focused on a 2 square mile area around the village of Baghouz, where 500 IS fighters are thought to remain.

Around 500 IS fighters are thought to remain in Baghuz Credit: ITV News

In recent weeks around 20,000 civilians have left the area, many of those the wives and children of the ISIS fighters who’ve stayed behind, mostly foreigners, who are now living in Kurdish-controlled camps.

It was in one these camps where we spoke to Kimberley, a woman who stood out not only because of her Western name, but because of her age. At 46, the Canadian is one of the oldest foreign women to have escaped.

“I came as a humanitarian, I came wanting to help to offer the skills that I had to help mainly women and children here,” she told us.

Accounts like Kim’s of life in the dwindling caliphate are rarely heard, “the last three weeks it’s pure chaos.

"It’s constant bombings, it’s constant people fleeing, it's pulling bodies from houses, it's pulling children from houses as the houses collapse, as the bombs hit.”

She also sent a message to the countries some of these families may wish to return to: “I would say that for the women that are still there and for the children, that if you want to leave, come, you'll be OK.

"And I would say for the families back home, don't judge too harsh.

"These people have been through an awful lot and they actually need your support and they need your help and they need their countries to back them up or you run the risk of them, some of them, becoming the very problem by pushing them away."

The capture of Baghouz would mark a significant moment in the fight against IS, the group once held an area of Syria and Iraq the size of Britain.

But whilst its territory might be gone, the threat of its ideology will remain - and the difficult question of what should happen to those who once lived under its flag.