A civilian carries a child as he walks with others after they were evacuated by the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters from an ISIS-controlled neighborhood of Manbij, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria, August 12, 2016. REUTERS/Rodi Said
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ISIS has released hundreds of civilians they used as human shields while fleeing a crumbling stronghold in northern Syria, but the fate of others remained unknown Saturday.The retreat from the city which ISIS captured in 2014 was the extremists' worst defeat yet at the hands of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an Arab-Kurdish alliance backed by U.S. air power.Fleeing fighters took around 2,000 civilians, including women and children, on Friday to ward off airstrikes as they headed to the ISIS-held frontier town of Jarabulus, according to the SDF. According to the Observatory, 437 civilians, including more than 100 children, were killed in the battle for Manbij and surrounding territory.Around 300 SDF fighters died, along with more than 1,000 extremists, it said. Since the battle for Manbij began, U.S.-led strikes have destroyed more than 50 ISIS heavy weapons and more than 600 fortified fighting positions, Trowbridge said.
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