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Photos: Syrian Civilians Rejoice After Being Rescued From ISIL by US-backed Fighters

( [email protected] ) Aug 20, 2016 10:57 AM EDT
After Syrian Democratic Forces retook the northern town of Manbij from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), civilians celebrated with relief Friday. Democratic Forces escorted 2,000 hostages from the area, who ISIL retreating fighters had been using as human shields.
Women and children celebrate on top of a pickup truck after they were evacuated Reuters

After Syrian Democratic Forces retook the northern town of Manbij from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), civilians celebrated with relief Friday. Democratic Forces escorted 2,000 hostages from the area, who ISIL retreating fighters had been using as human shields.

The SDF, an alliance of KurdishArabAssyrianArmenianTurkmen and Circassian militias, took control of the northern Syrian city of Manbij last week after 10 weeks of fierce fighting. According to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the battle claimed the lives of at least 437 civilians, 299 SDF fighters and 1,019 jihadists.

Manbij 4 man and child
(Photo : Reuters)
A man cradles a child after they were rescued from the ISIL-controlled neighborhood.
Manbij Newborns
(Photo : Reuters)
Women carrying newborn babies look relieved after Syrian Democratic Forces rescued them and 2,000 other hostages who reportedly were being used as human shields by retreating ISIL fighters leaving Manbij after 10 weeks of fighting.

The militants were fleeing north, toward Turkey, after being pushed out of Manbij, reports The Guardian.

Local reports indicated it was unclear whether all of the civilians were hostages or family members of the Islamic State fighters. On Tuesday, Col. Chris Garver, a spokesman for the US-led coalition against ISIL, said SDF fighters had allowed 100 to 200 vehicles of ISIL fighters to leave Manbij as they contained civilians.

"Civilians were observed in the convoy intermingled with fighters in every vehicle," Garver said in a press briefing.

The jihadist group repeatedly has used human shields during combat in its ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Syria.

Manbij 5 niqab
(Photo : Reuters)
A woman sets fire to a niqab.
Manbij 6 kiss
(Photo : Reuters)
An SDF fighter comforts a distraught man after the evacuation.

Tags : Manbij, Syrians rescued, human shields, Syrian Democratic Forces, SDF, SDF Press Center, Islamic State, ISIL, ISIS, jihadists, Syrian hostages, Syrian human shields, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Human Rights