2 Months of Battles Clear Out ISIS in Manbij, 2,000 Civilians Made Human Shields


Manbij, with a population of about 80,000 people, was captured by Daesh in 2014. The city has an important strategic location: it lies 85 km to the south of Aleppo, 40 km to the north of Jarabulus and 65 km to the east of Kobani.

On Friday morning, the units of the Manbij Military Council launched an operation to liberate the last district of the city remaining under Daesh control.

The violent clashes resulted in the city being fully liberated from the Daesh (ISIS/IS) terrorists. Around 3,000 Daesh headchoppers were eliminated.

Asharq Al-Awsat
2 Months of Battles Clear Out ISIS in Manbij, 2,000 Civilians Made Human Shields

Kurdish and U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have successfully seized full control over Manbij, ejecting all ISIS remnants. The Syrian city had been under the hardline group’s dominance since 2014.

Post becoming ISIS-free, the main arms supply route, connecting each of Iraq, Turkish borders and Syria will be zeroed in on, making it difficult for reinforcement to reach terrorists.

The SDF on Friday launched the final phase of the operation to free Manbij, targeting ISIS where they were holed up in the northern neighborhood of al-Sarb.

ISIS militiamen had kidnapped an estimated 2,000 civilians to be used as human shields while withdrawing from their final fortified positions in Manbij, namely al-Sarb neighborhood.

Spokesperson for the SDF, Shervan Derwish, said that among the abducted civilians is a majority of women and children.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a monitoring group that records daily developments in Syria, said on Friday that around 500 cars had left Manbij carrying ISIS members and civilians, heading northeast towards Jarablus, a town under the control of the armed group on the Turkish border.

On the other hand, fierce clashes renewed in Aleppo city and its rural areas on Friday. Battles pitted regime forces and allies against Syrian Opposition Forces.

Despite, the regime dropping chemical barrel bombs over the city, opposition forces continued their advancement claiming a huge strategic win by cutting off the regime’s sole supply route into Aleppo.

Preparations for three-way Turkish-Iranian-Russian coordination of offensives have witnessed major progress. The development indicates a solid possibility of looming tripartite alliance over the Syria crisis, in which Moscow plays the lion’s share in drafting coed operations.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Turkey on Friday. Zarif and counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu did not spend any effort to conceal present disputes over a number of case files, namely Syria.

Nevertheless, the two came out to declare finding some common ground concerning the Syria crisis, on which potential cooperation could be built.

Here is a series of images from newly liberated Manbij:

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Author Details
Ian Greenhalgh is a photographer and historian with a particular interest in military history and the real causes of conflicts.

His studies in history and background in the media industry have given him a keen insight into the use of mass media as a creator of conflict in the modern world.

His favored areas of study include state-sponsored terrorism, media manufactured reality and the role of intelligence services in manipulation of populations and the perception of events.
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