Collapse of key ISIS jihadi border pocket in Syria

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Militant fighters of the Islamic State in Manbij, Syria. File photo

ARA News 

ALEPPO  Syrian Kurds on Saturday took to streets to celebrate the capture of ISIS border pocket of Manbij in northern Syria. 

After US-backed Syrian democratic forces could liberate the last areas of Manbij city and expelled the Islamic State (ISIS) radical group from its main jihadi pocket on the Syrian-Turkish border, Kurdish people in the cities of northern Syria and Rojava took to streets to celebrate the victory made by Kurdish-led SDF forces against ISIS jihadists. 

Speaking to ARA News, the SDF official Sharvan Derwish confirmed the liberation of Manbij, but said their troops are still cleaning residential areas from landmines and explosives. 

“The city is liberated, but the campaign is not over yet; our forces are still searching for terror cells and trying to cleanse the city completely of ISIS remnants, especially the explosives and landmines,” Darwish told ARA News on the phone. 

ISIS had captured the city of Manbij on 23 January 2014 after pushing out all Syrian opposition armed groups.

On 31 May, the SDF forces launched an operation to capture Manbij. After more than two months of fierce clashes, the city was liberated and the remaining ISIS have reportedly withdrawn.

After being expelled from Manbij, ISIS has lost its main supply route between Turkey and its de facto capital Raqqa.

CIVILIANS 

In the meantime, the SDF also continued freeing civilians that have been held hostage by ISIS in the border city. 

According to the SDF-led Manbij Military Council, on Friday more than 2000 civilians have been released from ISIS detention in al-Sirib district. 

Al-Sirib was the last area held by ISIS militants in the Syrian border city of Manbij. Now the city is free of ISIS, according to military officials in Manbij. 

Speaking to ARA News, SDF officer Shervan Ali said: “We are now inside the city of Manbij trying to protect civilians who were freed from ISIS detention.”

Brian Viyan, a Kurdish female fighter of the YPJ, who participated in the anti-ISIS operation of Manbij, said: ” Today a large number of civilians were able to evacuate ISIS-held areas.”

Raghad Jassim, a citizen from Manbij, said: “My brother and cousin wanted to join the SDF forces but they were shot dead by ISIS before being able to reach the SDF positions. Furthermore, ISIS forced all girls and women to wear burqas in Manbij. Now this nightmare is over.”

Reporting by: Ayanda Goran, Jan Mohammed and Enwer Omar

Source: ARA News

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