The Syrian Democrati Forces (SDF), a coalition of Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian, Armenian, and Turkmen fighters, backed by the People’s Protection Units (YPG), surrounded Manbij on Friday, said the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The SDF also blocked the road south of the town, which heads to Raqqah. The strategic city of Manbij, located in Syria’s Aleppo Province, is a key point along Daesh’s main supply line from the Turkish frontier to Raqqah.
Raqqa, on the northern bank of the Euphrates River, about 160 kilometers east of Aleppo, was overrun by Takfiri terrorists in March 2013, and in 2014 was proclaimed the center for most of the terrorists’ administrative and control tasks.
Syrian forces are now engaged in a military offensive to liberate the strategic town.
Daesh, however, still controls territory along the Turkish border with secondary roads to the frontier, but these are more dangerous and difficult to access, according to Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.
To “reach the Turkish border from Raqqah,” Daesh terrorists have to take a route that is more dangerous, because of the presence of Syrian troops and Russian air strikes, he added.
Earlier this week, the SDF fighters managed to cut the road north out of Manbij to the border town of Jarabulus. The town has been used by Daesh as a transit point for terrorists, money and weapons.
The SDF’s Manbij operations center said on Thursday that the Syrian forces were close enough to target Daesh positions inside the city.
A total of 132 Daesh elements and 21 SDF fighters had been killed since the start of the Manbij assault.
About 20,000 people are still living in the city which had a pre-war population of about 120,000, mostly Arabs.
On Friday, the Russian ceasefire monitoring center in Syria said al-Nusra militants are carrying out mortar attacks on positions held by the Syrian Army and Kurdish militia as well as civilian areas in Aleppo.
Aid convoys enter Daraya
Several trucks carried a month’s supply of food for 2,400 people as well as health and hygiene items for the entire estimated population of 4,000 in the city.
In recent months, several humanitarian aid convoys have delivered aid supplies to several militant-held areas.
The government, however, voiced concern that militants in those areas could withhold food from needy citizens.
Daraya has been the scene of fierce clashes between government forces and militants holed up in parts of the area. A number of civilians have been killed in the crossfire.
According to UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, over 400,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict since March 2011. The UN has stopped counting the victims, citing widespread violence across the country.