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U.S.-Backed Forces Give IS Fighters 48 Hours To Leave Syrian Town

U.S.-backed forces in Syria have given Islamic State (IS) militants 48 hours to leave an encircled town near the Turkish border, in an attempt to prevent civilian casualties.

The Manbij Military Council, which is part of the U.S.-supported Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), said the offer is the "only and last" chance for IS extremists to "leave the town alive."

Tens of thousands of civilians are still trapped in Manbij, an IS stronghold that lies on a key supply route to the group's de facto capital of Raqqa.

The council said it would permit IS fighters to leave the town with their "individual weapons."

Supported by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, SDF forces have encircled Manbij but have so far avoided entering the town center in a bid to prevent civilian casualties.

The U.S.-led coalition air strikes have been blamed for the killing of at least 56 civilians in and around Manbij on July 19.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP