DAMASCUS, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- The Islamic State (IS) militants have kidnapped nearly 2,000 civilians while evacuating their last position in the northern town of Manbej near Turkey on Friday, state news agency SANA and a monitor group reported.
A convoy of 500 vehicles carrying the IS militants and civilians started leaving Manbej, in the northern countryside of the northern province of Aleppo, toward the town of Jarablus, another town in northern Aleppo, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The IS withdrawal comes apparently as part of mediation by local dignitaries between the IS and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which mounted a wide-scale offensive to flush out IS from Manbej in June, according to the Observatory.
The UK-based watchdog group said the deal was not officially declared between both sides, but it could be explained, as it's impossible for 500 vehicles to leave Manbej without being targeted by the SDF.
Friday marks the end of the IS presence in their last pocket in Manbej, the last IS position on the Turkish borders, activists said, adding that the town has become almost empty following the IS withdrawal with civilians.
Meanwhile, state news agency SANA said the IS terror group abducted nearly 2,000 civilians, using them as human shields to secure its withdrawal safely from Manbej toward Jarablus.
Activists said the terror group opened fire on several civilians who were trying to flee the withdrawing IS convoy, activists added.
On Aug. 6, the SDF, backed by heavy air cover from the U.S.-led anti-terror coalition, took control over Manbej, save for a few pockets, which remained in the hands of the IS militants.
Expelling the IS from Manbej came two months after the SDF with the help of the anti-terror coalition unleashed a wide-scale offensive to dislodge the IS from Manbej.
In the process, dozens of civilians were killed in the town as a result of the coalition airstrikes, according to the Observatory.
The SDF, a relatively new rebel alliance of Arab and Kurdish fighters, said their aim is to root out the IS presence in northern Syria.