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    Manbij Military Council fighters take an overwatch position in the southern rural area of Manbij, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria. file photo

    The Fall of Manbij: Kurds, Democratic Forces Poised to Liberate Syrian City

    © REUTERS / Rodi Said
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    Kurdish forces are ready to enter the northern Syrian city of Manbij in Aleppo province at any time, Adnan Ebu Emced, commander of the units of the Manbij Military Council, told Sputnik.

    In an interview with Sputnik, Adnan Ebu Emced, commander of units of the Manbij Military Council, said that they are poised and ready to liberate Manbij, a Daesh (ISIL/ISIS) stronghold in the region along the Turkish border, at any minute.

    The interview came a few days after the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) encircled the city, effectively cutting off the supply roads used by the Daesh terrorists. The Manbij Military Council is a coalition formed by Arab, Turkmen and Kurdish fighters and affiliated with SDF.

    Emced said that they have already managed to liberate three more villages and take control of several towns, as well as the Manbij-Aleppo and Raqqa-Manbij highways.

    Fighters of  the Manbij Military Council and the Syrian Democratic Forces gather in the southern rural area of Manbij, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria. file photo
    © REUTERS / Rodi Said
    Fighters of the Manbij Military Council and the Syrian Democratic Forces gather in the southern rural area of Manbij, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria. file photo

    "We encircled the city from four flanks. Our forces are advancing slowly so as to prevent civilian casualties. We take under our protection those who live in settlements liberated from Daesh. We are ready and willing to enter the city at any moment," he said.

    Earlier this month, US Central Command (CENTCOM) spokesperson Col. Patrick Ryder said that the successful offensive by the Kurdish-led SDF on Manbij could liberate up to 40,000 people from Daesh rule. He said that taking Manbij will further reduce Daesh's hold on the region and, perhaps most importantly, cut a key route the terrorists have used to obtain supplies and jihadist fighters from neighboring Turkey.

    Smoke rises from villages in the southern rural area of Manbij, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria. file photo
    © REUTERS / Rodi Said
    Smoke rises from villages in the southern rural area of Manbij, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria. file photo

    On May 30, the SDF, backed by the United States, began an offensive on Manbij, which is located along the Turkish border. The forces have already secured the western shore of the Euphrates River, and extended the defense line forward over 100 sq. km., according to CENTCOM.

    In late 2015, Kurdish forces had been advancing towards the Daesh-controlled corridor along the Turkish border, but were warned against crossing the Euphrates River into territory controlled by the terrorist group by Turkey's president, who vowed to attack the Syrian Kurds if they liberated the area.

    The US-led coalition of over 60 nations has been conducting airstrikes in Syria and Iraq against the Islamic State, also known as Daesh, since summer 2014.

    The SDF is comprised of Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian, Armenian, and Turkmen fighters, and are backed by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).

    Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with government forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad fighting numerous opposition factions and extremist groups.

    A US-Russia-brokered ceasefire came into force across Syria on February 27, but it does not apply to terrorist organizations active in the country, such as Daesh and the al-Nusra Front, which are outlawed in many countries, including Russia.

    Despite the ceasefire agreement, violence has escalated in Syria in recent weeks, especially in the northern Aleppo region.

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    Tags:
    stronghold, villages, units, coalition, casualties, protection, Manbij Military Council, Daesh, Syrian Democratic Forces, Syria
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