Syrian Democratic Forces call on ISIS to allow civilians evacuate war-torn town

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Fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces taking control of the Tishreen Dam on the Euphrates, a former ISIS supply line between Aleppo and Raqqa. File photo: ARA News

ARA News 

KOBANE – The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Monday said that victory in Manbij border pocket is near and called on the Islamic State (ISIS) to allow civilians evacuate the war-torn city. 

The campaign to defeat ISIS in Manbij enters its 55th day, and despite of ISIS attempts to break the siege on Manbij, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continued to advance into the city–which has been for long used by ISIS as a transit point between Turkey and Syria.

In response, ISIS has tried to use civilians as human shields and has killed dozens of civilians that have tried to escape with sniper fire.

The SDF-linked Manbij Military Council said that, on the basis of international humanitarian law and the Geneva conventions, it announced a new initiative to protect civilians and keep them away from the battlefield by opening a corridor to allow them leave the city.

The declaration has included three point: “1. To allow civilians and the injured to leave into safety through corridors to the liberated regions. 2. The Manbij Military Council will allow ISIS to have their injured fighters to be evacuated. 3. To release all prisoners in Manbij no matter what their crimes are,” the council said.

To implement this initiative the council called on ISIS to send a delegation of notables from Manbij to hold talks with the SDF leadership.

Speaking to ARA News, defence chief of the Cezire canton [northeastern Syria] Rezan Gullo said that the SDF forces “are working according to the Geneva conventions”.

Gullo also rejected media reports that suggested US-led coalition airstrikes killed civilians, describing the reports as ‘pro-ISIS propaganda’.

“The people who try to leave Manbij are being killed by ISIS,” the Kurdish defence chief told ARA News. “This is ISIS, they don’t care about civilians and just do everything to kill. The group has a terrorist system, but we [SDF] are different.” 

“We train our fighters on Geneva conventions to protect and liberate civilians. That’s why the war is very difficult,” he said.

“ISIS is about to collapse. We promise our martyrs and all the world and coalition countries that we will liberate Manbij. Because ISIS is a threat to the West, Germany, US, Russia and other countries. Those terrorists are a danger for democracy. That’s why we are determined to destroy ISIS,” he told ARA News. 

The US-led coalition dropped leaflets in Manbij saying “every oppressor comes to an end” associated with the logo of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) written in Syriac, Arabic and Kurdish.

Source: ARA News

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