Reuters International

A fighter of the Syria Democratic Forces mans an anti-aircraft weapon in the southern rural area of Manbij, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria May 31, 2016. REUTERS/Rodi Said/File Photo

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BEIRUT (Reuters) - U.S.-backed fighters in Syria are ready to enter the Islamic State-held city of Manbij at will but are being cautious due to the presence of civilians inside, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

Sharfan Darwish, speaking to Reuters, said the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance was on the outskirts of Manbij.

"Any moment that we want to enter it, we can, but because of the presence of civilians in the city ... we are being cautious about entering the city," said Darwish of the Manbij Military Council, part of the SDF. "When the time comes we will enter it of course," he said.

"There is news about many Daesh (IS) members escaping, and evacuating some areas of Manbij and booby-trapping them."

(Reporting by Tom Perry; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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