Syrian Democratic Forces further advance into Manbij, fear genocide against Kurds by ISIS

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SDF fighter seen in clashes with ISIS in Manbij suburb. Photo: ARA News

ARA News 

MANBIJ – The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have further advanced into Manbij on the 25th day of the operation. The Islamic State (ISIS) has responded to the losses by taking more than 1,000 civilians hostage. The Kurds now fear that ISIS could execute them in revenge for their losses.

Subsequent to heavy clashes with ISIS militants, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have captured the Sharia roundabout in Manbij in Syria’s northern Aleppo province. The SDF also expelled ISIS jihadis from the Manbij grain silos and the Akhdar farms south of the city, military sources told ARA News.

In the meantime, ISIS jihadis have reportedly attacked Manbij civilians with snipers and heavy machine gunfire, while they were trying to escape into the SDF controlled areas in the countryside of Manbij. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the death of a number of civilians by ISIS gunfire in Manbij, including children. 

The Syrian Democratic Council called on the international community to respond to the targeting of Kurdish civilians.

“To prevent massacres like in Tel Aran, Tel Hasel and Sinjar, a corridor is urgently needed,” Aysa Abdullah, the co-head of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) said in a public statement.

In July 2013, over 19 Kurds were killed and more than 400 went missing, after Islamist groups and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) attacked the Kurdish towns of Tel Aran and Tel Hasel. Currently, these two Kurdish towns are under regime control.

Moreover, in August 2014, the Islamic State killed over 5,000 Yezidis in Sinjar [Shingal] district in northern Iraq, beside enslaving and raping thousands of Yezidi women. According to the United Nations (UN), ISIS committed a genocide against Yezidis.

The Syrian Kurds fear now that in response to the losses, the extremist ISIS group will resort to kidnapping and executing Kurds in the towns of Qabasin, al-Bab and Ahras, where many Kurds live. In the past, ISIS has kidnapped many Kurds from Kobane and northern Aleppo in response to being defeated by the Kurdish forces. ISIS tortured many civilians only for being Kurdish, especially after the group lost the battle for Kobane in January 2015, where 4,000 to 5,000 ISIS fighters have been killed the hands of Kurdish YPG troops.

In August 2013, ISIS released dozens of Kurds in Qabasin, after demanding them to ‘repent to God’ for joining the PYD party, suggesting that any Kurd that would join the PYD after signing the agreement would become an apostate. For ISIS, anyone who is a member of a Kurdish party, or a member of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units or Peshmerga forces, is branded an apostate, and ISIS punishes apostasy with death penalty. 

As a result, many Kurds were either crucified or beheaded by ISIS in both Iraq and Syria. However, the Kurdish intelligence in Iraqi Kurdistan has managed to eliminate many of the ISIS executioners that beheaded Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in coordination with the coalition forces. As a result, ISIS executioners started hiding their faces in execution videos.

Some analysts suggest that ISIS could lose the city of Manbij this month, after losing more than 70 per cent of its fighting power under fierce attacks by the SDF forces.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg 

Source: ARA News 

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