10:52 GMT +317 October 2019
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    A video grab shows smoke rising from the city of Manbij, Syria.

    UK Armed Forces Minister Welcomes Liberation of Syrian Manbij From Daesh

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    UK Minister of State for the Armed Forces Mike Penning on Wednesday welcomed the liberation of the northern Syrian town of Manbij from Daesh, the UK government said in a press release.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The liberation of Manbij was announced by the Pentagon on Saturday, with militants alleged to have tried fleeing the city and mixing with civilians.

    "Manbij’s liberation is a significant development in the fight against Daesh in Syria. The RAF [UK Royal Air Force] supported the liberation with airstrikes over recent weeks, alongside our Coalition partners," Penning said as quoted in the press release.

    On May 21, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by the US-led coalition, began an offensive to retake the northern Syrian town from Daesh. The town was considered a key smuggling hub for the militants, who relied on Manbij to smuggle fighters and supplies, as well as sending terrorists out of Syria across the Turkish border.

    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. Daesh, which is outlawed in many countries, including the United States and Russia, took over parts of the country in 2014. The US-led coalition has been conducting anti-DAesh airstrikes in Syria and Iraq since 2014. The SDF was formed in 2015 and includes the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).


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