Hundreds of abducted civilians freed by IS in Manbij

Hundreds of abducted civilians freed by IS in Manbij
Battered IS forces have made a desperate retreat to its territories in northern Syria and used hundreds of civilians as human shields from bombing.
2 min read
13 August, 2016
Syrians in Manbij fled the fighting in the city, while some were abducted [AFP}

The Islamic State group have released hundreds of civilians, hours after the miltants kidnapped around 2,000 Manbij residents.

The jihadi group took thousands of civilians to use as human shields while making a desperate retreat from Kurdish-Arab forces advancing in Manbij.

The Syrian Democratic Forces backed by US-led air raids have pushed IS militants out of Manbij city this week.

Some of the civilians kidnapped by IS managed to escape their captors, while "others were freed", a source told AFP.  

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor confirmed the account.  

IS are thought to be retreating north to Jarabalus - on the Syrian-Turkish border - and using civilians as protection from US air raids. 

"Among the civilians taken by IS there were people used as human shields but also many who chose voluntarily to leave the town due to fear of reprisals" by the SDF, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

The jihadi group has staged many mass abductions when forced to retreat.

IS also employs booby-trapped cars and carried out suicide bombings to slow advances by their opponents.

According to the Observatory, 437 civilians - including more than 100 children - were killed in the battle for Manbij and surrounding territory.

Around 300 SDF fighters died, along with more than 1,000 IS militants, it said.