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IS Abducts 900 Kurds In Syria, Kills At Least 18

The Islamic State (IS) extremist group has abducted around 900 mainly Kurdish civilians in northern Syria over the past three weeks in areas where Kurdish forces are fighting the militants, a monitoring group has said.

The kidnappings took place in villages near the IS-controlled town of Al-Bab in a province northeast of Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The militants transferred some 350 of the abducted people to Al-Raqqa, IS's self-proclaimed capital, with the others taken to IS prisons in Syria, it said.

The extremists reportedly forced some of the abducted Kurds to dig ditches and build fortifications. And it has executed at least 13 civilians and shot dead at least five more who attempted to escape, the monitor said.

The Kurdish forces have been battling to oust IS from Manbij near the Turkish border. The Democratic Forces of Syria, a U.S.-backed alliance of Arabs and Kurds, said it entered Manbij on June 23.

Manbij, under IS rule since 2014, is strategically important because of its location along a supply route from the Turkish border to Al-Raqqa.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa