Top jihadis under fire by US-backed SDF near ISIS border pocket

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ARA News

MANBIJ – Since the start of the battle for Manbij border pocket in northern Syria on 31 May, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have reportedly killed a number of prominent jihadis from the Islamic State group (ISIS).

Manbij Governer Osama Al-Tounsi

Last week, the US-backed SDF fighters attacked a convoy for the radical group of Islamic State (ISIS) while trying to escape the city of Manbij in Syria’s northern Aleppo province. At least ten ISIS militants were killed in the SDF shelling, including the ISIS governor of Manbij Osama al-Tounsi.

“Al-Tounsi was trying to escape Manbij along with his family and a number of his escorts. Their convoy was hit with several artillery shells. They were all killed in the attack,” local media activist Nasir Taljbini told ARA News. 

The convoy, consisting of three cars, was exiting the western gate of Manbij heading towards al-Bab city when the SDF forces bombed them.

“The operation was conducted after we received information that ISIS governor of Manbij Osama al-Tounsi is trying to flee the city,” a spokesman for the SDF told ARA News in Manbij.

According to the official, the death of al-Tounsi while trying to escape Manbij indicates the collapse of ISIS in the city under the ongoing operation by the western-backed SDF troops.

ISIS Prince Al-Hussein 

One day after the death of al-Tunsi, another top jihadi commander in the ranks of the Islamic State (ISIS) was reportedly killed in clashes with Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the northern Aleppo province, military sources reported on Saturday. 

Fierce clashes took place between the western-backed SDF troops and ISIS militants in the Um Mayyal village on the road between Aleppo and Manbij in northern Syria, leading to casualties on both sides. The SDF was able to retake the village after ISIS withdrawal. 

“Subsequent to heavy fighting on Saturday, our forces liberated Um Mayyal in the western countryside of Manbij on the Aleppo highway,” SDF officer Habun Osman told ARA News. “We have collected corpses of 24 ISIS militants who were killed in the clashes, including their commander Dahham al-Hussein,” the official said, adding that five SDF fighters lost their lives in the fighting and a dozen more were injured. 

Al-Hussein was appointed by ISIS as an Emir [prince] in Um Mayyal village and he was in charge of the group’s military operations in western Manbij.

Abu Hamza Al-Ansari 

The US-led coalition launched several airstrikes on headquarters of the Islamic State (ISIS) radical group in northern Syria last Sunday, killing and wounding a number of jihadis. The airstrikes targeted ISIS positions in the city of Manbij, near the Turkish border, local sources told ARA News. 

At least nine ISIS jihadis were killed, including ISIS senior leader Abu Hamza al-Ansari, and dozens were wounded in the coalition raids on Sunday. 

“Al-Ansari was killed along with three of his escorts after one of the airstrikes hit a building where they’ve been hiding in Manbij city,” local media activist Nasser Taljbini told ARA News. 

“Another raid targeted an ISIS security centre in Manbij and killed at least five militants and wounded 12 others,” the source reported. 

In the meantime, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) advanced towards the ISIS-held city.

Speaking to ARA News, SDF commander in Manbij Adnan Abu Amjad said: “Our forces captured the Al-Kitab square in western Manbij after fierce clashes with ISIS militants.” 

The commander added that the international coalition has intensified its airstrikes inside Manbij city to assist the SDF in their ground operations against ISIS. 

Chief of Islamic Police Abu al-Hayjaa

Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) last Wednesday announced the death of the ISIS-led Hisba police in the northern countryside of Aleppo.

Abu al-Hayjaa, head of the Islamic State’s Hisba police force in Manbij city north of Aleppo was killed in clashes with SDF fighters.

The SDF confirmed in a statement, obtained by ARA News, that Abu al-Hayjaa was killed along with dozens of other ISIS militants in an offensive by the SDF-led Manbij Military Council inside the city of Manbij, near the border with Turkey. 

“Subsequent to fierce clashes with ISIS militants, our forces captured the Hatabat district in Manbij city on Wednesday,” a spokesman for the SDF told ARA News. 

“Al-Hisba chief Abu al-Hayjaa and four of his escorts were killed in the clashes. Also, over 27 other members of ISIS were killed under heavy bombardment by our forces,” the official said.

Source: ARA News 

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