People that fled Islamic State contolled areas travel on the back of a vehicle in al-Rai town, northern Aleppo countryside, Syria October 4, 2016. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
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On a road in northern Syria, a rebel fighter signals to a group of men, women and children traipsing across barren fields to put their hands in the air.The group – two families from the town of Tal Afar near Mosul in Iraq – are part of a rising tide of people flooding into northern Syria, fleeing deteriorating conditions and conflict in the parts of Iraq and Syria still controlled by Daesh as operations to crush the militants gather pace.The two families paid $32,000 to smugglers who took them to the edge of Daesh territory in north Syria – around 500 kilometers – inside oil tankers.From there they walked the final 25 km to arrive at a Free Syrian Army rebel checkpoint just outside the town of Al-Rai on the Turkish border, an area of northwestern Syria purged of Daesh by Turkey and its Syrian rebel allies in August.The U.N.-affiliated body told Reuters it knows of at least 6,000 people who fled Raqqa, Daesh's de facto capital in Syria, for other parts of Syria in June, July and August.
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