Kurdish-led forces liberate southeast neighborhoods of Manbij
MANBIJ, Syria (Kurdistan24) – Dozens of Islamic State (IS) insurgents were killed on Monday in clashes with the Kurdish-led, US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Manbij Military Council (MMC) in the southeast neighborhoods of Manbij.
In an exclusive interview with Kurdistan24, Sharvan Darwish, an SDF senior military commander and spokesperson for the MMC, said that a southeast neighborhood in Manbij was liberated.
“Our forces are less than a kilometer away from the town center, and clashes are ongoing in the Hazawna neighborhood in the southeast and the grain silos and mills in the east of Manbij,” he said.
Darwish said that more than 20 IS insurgents were killed in the Hazawna neighborhood in the southeast of Manbij in the last two days. He added that dozens of IS bodies had been left near the grain silos in the east side of the town.
“So far, we are on the 26th day of the Manbij Operation which is now called the Martyr Abu Layla Operation,” he said.
“Over 1,300 IS militants were killed, and about 800 of the insurgents’ bodies were seized by our forces,” Darwish added.
Many MMC and SDF fighters spoke to Kurdistan24 about their high morals as they are moving towards the town center.
“We have the power and determination to attack the city and shell IS targets, but we are advancing strategically making sure that the insurgents will not be able to use civilians as human shields,” said an MMC fighter.
In the past two days, the forces have freed the east and southeast neighborhoods of the town. However, they could not storm the town center and other neighborhoods because they were worried about stranded civilians.
The SDF had already launched two operations last month. The first one began in the northern countryside of IS’ Syrian de facto capital of Raqqa on May 24, and the second one on May 30 towards Tabqa, some 60 kilometers (40 miles) west of Raqqa.
On May 31, Manbij Military Council and SDF launched the Manbij operation.
The SDF have liberated several IS strongholds in north and northeast Syria.
Although mainstream media presents SDF as an inclusive force, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) is the primary element of the coalition, outnumbering all other groups.
The shot shows the ongoing clashes in the southeast neighborhood of Hazawna between IS insurgents, Kurdish-led SDF and their allied brigades of MMC.
The yellow spaces indicate the SDF-controlled areas, while the grey spaces are controlled by IS. (Photo: Syrian Civil War Map/Edited on June 27, 2016, at Kurdistan24)
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany and Ava Homa