ISIL flees Manbij using civilians as 'human shields'
"Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) fighters seized around 2,000 civilians to use as "human shields" Friday (August 12th) as they fled Manbij in northern Syria, AFP reported.
The Arab-Kurd alliance known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) expelled most ISIL fighters from the town last week, but a small number remained.
"While withdrawing from a district of Manbij, ISIL jihadists abducted around 2,000 civilians from al-Sirb neighbourhood," said Sherfan Darwish, spokesman for the Manbij Military Council, a key component of the SDF.
"They used these civilians as human shields as they withdrew to Jarabulus, thus preventing us from targeting them," he added.
Al-Sirb is a district in northern Manbij on the way to the ISIL-held town of Jarabulus in Aleppo province near the border with Turkey.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported the ISIL abductions, saying the civilians were placed in hundreds of cars heading for Jarabulus.
Around 2,500 other civilians "held captive by the jihadists were saved" by the SDF, Darwish said.
On Friday, the SDF was combing al-Sirb for remaining pockets of ISIL fighters, he said.