By: Elena Grace Flores
In a recently released photo by the Syrian Democratic Forces a convoy showing hundreds of vehicles escaping the northern Syrian town of Manbij – using civilians as shields that paralyzed the American forces. The Kurdish and Arab fighters are backed by the US but did not attack to avoid civilians casualties as they were strategically placed side by side in each vehicle. Aerial photos conformed this scenario.
However, SDF fighters dominated in Manbij after the US-led coalition air strikes and maneuvering b special forces personnel after 10 weeks.
Knowing that the United States is particular in preserving lives, IS militants took their own family members together with hostages to form human shields to allow them to escape – as they were losing in the battle.
Despite of this, US forces had this in mind: “We had to treat them all as non-combatants. We didn’t shoot. We kept watching.”
After the exodus, the civilians were released while the rest escaped with the shielded vehicles. A safe route going away from Manbij was even offered by the SDF to prevent civilian casualties, but the militants rejected it. Instead, they deliberately throw prisoners into dangerous grounds to discredit the US; said Col Garver.