Islamic State group fighters seized around 2,000 civilians to use as "human shields" Friday as they fled their stronghold of Manbij in northern Syria, US-backed forces and a monitor said.
The Arab-Kurdish alliance known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) expelled most of the IS fighters from the town last week, but a small number remained.
"While withdrawing from a district of Manbij, Daesh (IS) jihadists abducted around 2,000 civilians from Al-Sirb neighbourhood," said Sherfan Darwish, spokesman for the Manbij Military Council, a key component of the SDF.
"They used these civilians as human shields as they withdrew to Jarabulus, thus preventing us from targeting them," he added.
Al-Sirb is a district in northern Manbij on the way to the IS-held border town of Jarabulus in Aleppo province near the border with Turkey.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on sources on the ground to cover the conflict, also reported that IS had abducted around 2,000 civilians as they fled Manbij.
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