Hundreds of ISIS vehicles were allowed to leave Syrian city

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Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters inspect a centre that was used by Islamic State religious police (al-Hisbah) in Manbij, Aleppo Governorate, Syria, August 16, 2016. REUTERS/Rodi Said - RTX2LBP3

Syria Democratic Forces fighters inspect an area that was used by Islamic State religious police in Manbij, Syria, Aug. 16, 2016. Photo by REUTERS/Rodi Said

WASHINGTON — A military official says a couple hundred vehicles of Islamic State fighters were allowed to leave the northern Syrian city of Manbij as U.S.-backed forces seized the town in recent days because the militants had civilians with them.

The official says some IS fighters may have already made their way into Turkey, but many are still in Syria. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly so spoke anonymously.

Col. Chris Garver, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting IS, says the decision was made by Syrian rebel commanders who let the convoy leave the city because there were civilians in all of the cars. He says he doesn’t know how many of the civilians may have been in the cars voluntarily.

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