VIDEO: Kurdish, Arab Troops Fighting against ISIS Enter Syria’s Manbij
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) pushed into Manbij, located some 30 kilometers west of the Euphrates, hours after they seized control of a village southwest of the city, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Thursday.
According to the Observatory, fierce street battles were still going on in the streets of Manbij.
It said at least two SDF fighters were killed when a bomb was detonated inside a building. There were no immediate reports about causalities among the ranks of Daesh (ISIS / ISIL).
Sources said Thursday that ISIS had planted many booby-traps to stop the advance of the SDF.
This is the second time in less than a month that SDF attempts to capture Manbij, a town of 120,000 people before the conflict started in Syria more than five years ago. The area fell to ISIS in 2014.
The Kurdish-Arab fighters encircled the city earlier in this month but faced heavy resistance by ISIS.
Manbij is situated some 40 kilometers from the Turkish border. The SDF forces have so far liberated dozens of villages and farms in the area since the start of their anti-ISIS assault on May 31. However, the SDF has been slow in its advances as many civilians are still trapped inside the city.
The recapture of Manbij could cut ISIS militants’ main access route to the outside world, paving the way for an offensive to flush the terrorists out of their main stronghold in Syria’s Raqqa Province.
The Takfiri group has used the town as a key station on its supply route from Turkey into Raqqa.
ISIS has lost a significant portion of the territories it used to control in Iraq and Syria as government forces in both countries have pushed forward to retake towns and villages from the group.
Syrian military and allies have been planning a major offensive into Raqqa to dismantle the most significant bastion of ISIS in the Arab country.