Posted on August 6, 2016 by Editorial Staff in 1 Top News, Kurdistan
Syrian Kurdish-led Syria Democratic Forces SDF in Manbij. Photo: Reuters
BEIRUT,— The Kurdish-led coalition forces backed by US-coalition air force on Saturday took “almost complete control” of the Islamic State group stronghold of Manbij, two months after launching an operation to capture the strategic city in northern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said..
The Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), which includes the powerful Kurdish YPG militia and Arab fighters, launched its campaign two months ago with the backing of U.S. special forces to drive Islamic State from a last stretch of the Syrian-Turkish frontier.
“The Syrian Democratic Forces 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 official spokesman of the SDF-allied Manbij military council, Sharfan Darwish, told Reuters that battles were continuing but that around 90 percent of the city had now been cleared of Islamic State.
Pockets of militants are still present in the center of the city, the Britain-based Observatory said.
The town had served as a key transit point along IS’s supply route from the Turkish border to Raqqa, the de facto capital of its self-styled Islamic “caliphate”.
The SDF has launched the campaign late May with the backing of U.S. special forces to drive Islamic State from its last stretch of the Syrian-Turkish frontier.
The SDF alliance has a total of about 30,000 Kurdish fighters and about 5,000 Arab fighters.
The Kurdish People’s Protection Units YPG is regarded by the Pentagon as the most effective fighting force on the ground in Syria against IS as the Kurdish militia has seized swathes of Syria from Islamic State.
Syrian Kurds have established three autonomous zones, or Cantons of Jazeera, Kobani and Afrin across Syrian Kurdistan (northern Syria) in 2013.
Capturing the last remaining Islamic State foothold of Manbij help the Kurds to linking the Kurdish Canton of Afrin, which is controlled by the same Kurdish groups in northwestern Syria, to Syrian Kurdistan.
On March 17, 2016 Syria’s Kurds declared a federal region in Syrian Kurdistan.