Syrian rebels ‘seize key town Manbij from IS’

A coalition of Kurdish and Syrian rebel groups supported by US coalition air strikes have seized the Islamic State (IS) group stronghold of Manbij, two months after launching an operation to capture the strategic city in northern Syria, a monitor said.

“The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) took control of Manbij on Saturday and are combing the city in search of the last remaining jihadists,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The SDF first encircled the town in early June and surged into it later that month. But its assault was slowed by a fierce IS fight back which saw the militants launch a tirade of suicide attackers and car bombs. On Friday, IS still controlled two pockets inside the city but was fully surrounded by SDF forces and unable to bring in reinforcements or ammunition.

MEE contributor Wladimir van Wilgenburg in northern Syria, however, said that the announcement was premature and that sources on the ground were indicating that IS was still fighting back and continued to have a presence in the city.


US President Barack Obama on Thursday touted progress the US and its allies have made in the military campaign IS while adding that it still posed a threat to the West.

At a press briefing he addressed a wide range of security topics, including the fight against Russia’s involvement in Syria and $400m shipped to Iran after the nuclear deal.

Manbij has been the scene of intense fighting between the SDF and the Islamic State (IS) group for the last two months.

The US coalition has been supporting the SDF with airstrikes and have been targeting key strategic IS strongholds in Manbij throughout the campaign.


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