Images released by Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed rebel group, reveal the latest tactic from Islamic State militants as they start losing territory.
Realising that the SDF was gaining momentum after 10-weeks of intense fighting in Manbij, a major ISIS-held city, ISIS militants began their retreat to Jarabulus, a city on the Turkish border.
However, even their retreat appeared to be gutlessly motivated: after confiscating the vehicles belonging to the city’s residents, they forced at least one out of the 2,000 kidnapped civilians into each of them as they fled — preventing SDF and US-led coalition forces from targeting the convoy with airstrikes for fear of harming the “human shield.”
So far, it seems that ISIS forces had good reason to flee from Manbij: except for the few sleeper cells that remained, coalition forces announced last Friday that the city had been liberated from ISIS control.
Here’s what ISIS’ retreat looked like:
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