ISIS Stronghold Fled Civilians Surrounded by US-Backed Forces

ISIS Stronghold Fled Civilians Surrounded by US-Backed Forces
Tue Jun 21, 2016 12:02:16

Growing numbers of civilians are fleeing the ISIS stronghold of Manbij, as US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continue to push out and suppress the remaining pockets of terrorist resistance in the northern Syrian town.

Securing Manbij is of vital importance as it serves as one of the key routes for ISIS terror group to smuggle supplies from Turkey. During the offensive to take full control of the city which began late May, the US-led Coalition conducted airstrikes, in support of the SDF advances.

After fully encircling Manbij on June 8, the SDF – which includes the Kurdish YPG militia – continues to fight its way into the city center. Feeling that liberation from the ISIS yoke is nearing, after more than two years under terrorist control, civilians began to flee en masse, despite a clear ban from the terrorist group that threatens retribution over the exodus.

ISIS has long championed the civilian shield tactics to protect their positions in Syria. To secure their assets the terrorist group has reportedly set up checkpoints across Manbij to stop civilians from escaping and kill anyone trying to flee.

Those who managed to cross into the SDF-controlled areas are greeted by the US-backed fighters that are doing everything possible to save the lives of the city's residents.

“A group of ISIS militants entered the Dawar Kitab and Matachin. We fortified ourselves here in order to save the civilians, to save as many civilians and to meet them in order to save all of them,” an SDF soldier told RT Arabic.

According to media on the ground, up to 80 percent of civilians managed to escape ISIS control. It is also reported that the exodus was prompted by mass rallies held in the city urging terrorists to abandon their positions. ISIS responded with deadly force against the protesters, which encouraged the rest to run for their lives.

“We escaped but it was very dangerous. The road was opened. The clashes stopped and we tried to leave. We have succeeded. If Allah wills, everyone will be able to leave,” one refugee said.

Fleeing citizens shared the horrors they were forced to endure in the ISIS-held city, with one resident telling RT that they were forced to flee because of “ISIS cruelty.”

“They are not afraid of Allah. They pretend to be Muslims. They have to be ashamed of themselves,” the refugee added, RT reported.

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