Convoy of IS fighters allowed to leave Syrian city

Convoy of IS fighters allowed to leave Syrian city

Convoy of IS fighters allowed to leave Syrian city

Beirut-Islamic State group fighters seized around 2,000 civilians to use as "human shields" as they fled their stronghold of Manbij in northern Syria, US-backed forces and a monitor said.

The sources, who spoke anonymously due to security fears, told Anadolu Agency that the PYD was setting the land registry and civil registry buildings on fire in an alleged attempt to change the demographic structure of the city. The U.S. has provided the SDF with air cover and American special forces are advising them on the ground.

Turkey hosts around 3 million refugees, most of whom from Syria. The road was also used by the group to smuggle weapons and goods.

The Islamic State's defeat in Manbij was welcome news in a conflict that has confounded USA policymakers and created unsafe spillover effects across the region.

The U.S. Department of Defense released a statement late Monday regarding the liberation of the northern Syrian city of Manbij from Daesh militants.

He added that the US was also aware of the historic sensitivities of the Iraqi government and local Arabs in the city and that it took those concerns into account.

The operation, in which USA special forces played a significant role on the ground, marks the most ambitious advance by a group allied to Washington in Syria since the US launched its military campaign against ISIS two years ago.

The SDF is a coalition of Arab fighters and Kurdish YPG forces which Turkey views as an extension of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) that has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region in southeastern Turkey since 1984. "I expect they'll come under USA pressure to feel otherwise and head to Raqqa".

In a clear indication of the direction in which they want to move, SDF commanders announced the establishment of the al-Bab Military Council soon after capturing Manbij.

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That would be a step toward connecting Afrin, which is one of three cantons that Syrian Kurds have self-designated for autonomous rule, to other Kurdish-controlled areas.

In an interview with daily Karar, Yildirim said that the time has come for Turkey to mend relations with Syria after Ankara took steps for rapprochement with Israel and Russian Federation. Carter noted the city was also used for "external operators plotting attacks" against the USA and its partners.

The SDF launched its offensive in late May to capture Manbij under the cover of US -led airstrikes.

Hundreds of cars and vehicles carrying families and their belongings flocked into the city from makeshift camps and villages in the countryside, where numerous city's residents took shelter during the two-month campaign, according to an SDF official and relatives who were in contact with residents.

During the heavy fighting, local forces were backed by the USA -led coalition against ISIS with hundreds of airstrikes, some of which have been alleged to have killed civilians.

The convoy headed north and is still being tracked, Garver added.

"It remains to be seen as to when it ends specifically and then what the follow-on response is to that", he said.

The capture of Manbij is the biggest defeat for the militant group in Syria since July 2015, when they lost the town of Tal Abyad on the border with Turkey, the New York Times said. Conditions have worsened in the nearby city of Aleppo, Syria's largest, as rebels and Russian-backed government forces trade attacks.