MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Syrian Army, backed by the US coalition, liberated the country's key northern city of Manbij, close to the Turkish border from Daesh, the US Department of Defense said in a press release.
"That … is a major setback for ISIL [Islamic State] at the hands of our partners the SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces], including thousands of Syrian Arab troops that are fighting to liberate their own homes. It is also the latest significant milestone in the coalition's efforts to cut off and eliminate a hub of ISIL activity," Pentagon spokesman Gordon Trowbridge said as quoted in the press release.
According to Trowbridge, there is evidence that Daesh militants are attempting to flee the city, trying to mix with civilians so that they could use them as human shields.
"ISIL's inevitable defeat in Manbij does real damage to ISIL's capability in those areas," he added.
Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with government forces loyal to President Bashar Assad fighting a number of opposition factions and extremist groups. The Syrian Army backed by US coalition fought 73 days to expel IS out of Manbij. The US-led coalition of more than 60 nations has been conducting anti-IS airstrikes in Syria and Iraq since 2014. The Islamic State terrorist group is banned in Russia, the United States and many other countries.