Members of the Daesh Takfiri group have kidnapped thousands of civilians in a Kurdish-populated city of the strategic northwestern province of Aleppo as the victims were fleeing heavy fighting between an alliance of Arab and Kurdish forces on one side and extremists on the other.
“While withdrawing from a district of Manbij, Takfiris abducted around 2,000 civilians,” the Kurdish-Arab alliance, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), said on Friday.
The report came shortly after the SDF announced that they had launched a final assault to flush the remaining Daesh militants out of Manbij, located 446 kilometers (277 miles) north of the capital Damascus.
Friday's attack is “the last operation and the last assault,” Sharfan Darwish, a spokesman for the SDF said.
Darwish went on to say that roughly 100 Daesh terrorists holed up in downtown Manbij were using civilians as human shields.
Manbij lies along the only supply line of Daesh between the Syrian-Turkish border to the north and the group’s main Syria stronghold of Raqqah, which lies to the southeast.
Its liberation would mark the biggest strategic defeat for Daesh in Syria since July 2015, when the terrorist group lost the strategically important town of Tal Abyad on Syria’s border with Turkey.
The SDF fighters launched an operation to retake Manbij two months ago. The city has been under Daesh control for more than two years.
Meanwhile, a convoy of 40 trucks carrying 1,000 metric tons of food supplies arrived in Syria’s northwestern city of Aleppo on Thursday evening.
The newly-arrived supplies are said to be sufficient for two months.
Aleppo Governor Mohammad Marwan al-Olabi said local officials were adopting all necessary measures to meet the city residents’ requirements.
Syrian government forces, backed by fighters from popular defense groups, are trying to purge foreign-sponsored Takfiri terrorists from areas under their control in Aleppo. The army has so far managed to open up several safe passages for civilians to leave the beleaguered city.
The United Nations has warned that two million people could be trapped in Aleppo as government forces and Takfiri militants are gearing up for a decisive battle for the city.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
Back in 2014, the UN said it would no more update its official death toll for Syria because it could not verify the figures that it received from various sources.