"Daesh escaping from Menbij came as a result of mediation of some civilians from Manbij. Because it was the only way to rescue civilians from Daesh. The decision was by DSF only, the coalition [was] never involved. When Daesh fled they took about 5,000 civilians with them as human shield[s]," Muslim said.
According to the US Defense Department, the decision to give the disarmed Daesh convoy safe passage was made by the SDF because of the large number of civilians intermixed in the convoy. The convoy was reported to be heading further west into Islamic State-controlled territory.
The battle to retake Manbij, a crucial Daesh transportation and smuggling hub, began three months ago.