Hundreds of civilians abducted by ISIS freed

14 Aug 2016 | By Ramya

Hundreds of civilians held captive by Islamic State while fleeing Manbij in North Syria to use them as human shields have been released.

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which drove away ISIS from Manbij, stated some civilians managed to escape and "others were freed" by ISIS.

Also, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights stated hundreds of abducted civilians were no longer held by the outfit.

In context: ISIS losing ground in Syria?

IntroductionAbout the ISIS terror outfit

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), or Daesh, is a Salafi (Sunni), Jihadist terrorist group.

It was founded in 1999 by AbuMusab al-Zarqawi and was an offshoot of Al-Qaeda.

It enforces control over extensive territories in Iraq and Syria and rules over 2.8 to 8 million people.

Syrian Democratic Forces

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) or Qiwaat Suriyya al-Dimoqratiyya (QSD) is an alliance of the Kurdish, Assyrian, Arab, Turkmen, Armenian, and Circassian forces in Syria's Civil War. The SDF fights against the ISIS outfit and other rebel groups to make Syria normal again.
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12 Aug 2016Over 2,000 civilians abducted by ISIS

The ISIS terror outfit had reportedly seized about 2,000 as they fled Manbij in north Syria to use them as "human shields".

The abductions were the result of Syrian and Russian jet attacks on rebels in Aleppo city, stated the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) drove away most ISIS fighters earlier from Manbij while several others continued to fight.

Withdrew from Manbij to head for Jarabalus

ISIS withdrew from a Manbij district heading for Jarabalus, another ISIS-controlled town and took the captives along with them. Manbij Military Council spokesman Sherfan Darwish said, "They used these civilians as human shields as they withdrew to Jarabulus, thus preventing us from targeting them."

Mass AbductionsISIS often stages mass abductions

ISIS, which faces a series of losses in Iraq and Syria, had often staged mass abductions in both the countries whenever they came under pressure to relinquish territories under their control.

In Jan'16, over 400 civilians, including children and women, were kidnapped from eastern Syria; 270 of them were released later.

For the recent abduction, ISIS confiscated civilians' cars and forced people into them.

Human ShieldsCivilians used to block opponents

Civilians had been used by the ISIS as human shields, booby-trapped cars, for suicide bombings in order to stop and slow down its opponents and avoid being attacked.

The outfit held thousands captive in Fallujah which was recaptured by Iraqi forces in Jun'16.

Experts said it wasn't clear how the terror organization managed to flee Manbij which was captured by SDF on 6 Aug'16.

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14 Aug 2016Hundreds of civilians abducted by ISIS freed

SDF and ISISManbij a key supply route for ISIS

The Arab-Kurdish alliance Syrian Democratic Forces launched an assault on ISIS-held Manbij in May'16.

Manbij is a key supply route between Turkey's border and IS' primary-base Raqqa.

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights' head Rami Abdel Rahman stated several civilians were forcefully taken while some voluntarily went with ISIS due to fear.

ISIS used the abducted civilians as human shields to block opponent forces.