ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A local commander of a faction allied to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) survived an assassination attempt claimed by the Islamic State in the northern city of Manbij on Wednesday.
“The general chief of the Jaysh al-Thuwar Abu Ali has survived from an IED explosion on one of the roads to Manbij city,” the group said in a statement.
Abu ‘Ali Bard is a senior commander of Jaysh al-Thuwar, or the Army of Revolutionaries, a coalition force allied with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and fighting under the SDF umbrella.
The official was driving to the group’s headquarters of when a blast hit his car near the al-Kitab roundabout in Manbij.
Two civilians were taken to the hospital after being injured in the explosion near the southern entrance of the city, the Hawar News Agency reported. They were named as Safia Haj Hussein and Sabih Sabal and their condition was reported as stable.
The incident was also confirmed by the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
The Jaysh al-Thuwar statement read, “Until now the terrorist and evil forces are insisting on creating confusion and destabilize the security in the region as well trying to put obstacles in the march of democratic process especially of defeat of terrorist organization of ISIS.”
Later, the Islamic State took responsibility through its semi-official Amaq news agency, saying that the official and two others were injured in an explosion.
Despite the Islamic State’s military defeat in the country, recently announced by the SDF with the fall of the group’s last sliver of territory in the town of Baghouz in late March, Manbij has seen numerous insurgency-style attacks.
According to SOHR, the Islamic State continues to be active in the form of cells operating in areas under SDF control, “through carrying out bombings, attacks, assassinations, and murders, against civilians, fighters, and members of the Syria Democratic Forces and the internal security forces ‘Asayish’.”
Manbij was liberated by the US-backed SDF from the Islamic State in 2016 in one of the bloodiest campaigns Syria has witnessed against the extremist group. It is also at the center of tensions related to Turkey’s repeated threats to invade the area.
The embattled city is located near territory controlled by Russian-backed Syrian government forces and anti-Syrian militias supported by the Turkish government.
Editing by John J. Catherine