A U.S.-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters has started its advance into the IS-held town of Manbij (BBC). The town is strategically important for Islamic State forces, and the advance follows a recent trend of recapturing towns from IS (Al Jazeera). The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that there were fights between the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Islamic State militants on the outskirts of the town (BBC). The alliance began their assault on the city near the Kutab roundabout, almost 2 km from the center of Manbij (Reuters).
Nasser Haj Mansour, an advisor to the SDF, stated that the alliance began their assault on Wednesday (Al Jazeera). Abdel Rahman, the chief of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said that tens of thousands of civilians are still trapped inside Manbij (Al Jazeera). Manbij sits on an intersection of roads that links the IS stronghold of Raqqa to the Turkish border and the province of Aleppo (BBC). If the alliance succeeds in retaking the town, it would cut off the Islamic State’s access route to the outside world (Reuters).
Tags: Terrorism, Syria, Kurds, Islamic State, United States, Lee