Kurds and Arab fighters seize town from ISIL near border with Turkey

A US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters has seized most of a key Syrian city from so-called Islamic State (IS), activists and commanders say.

Manbij is situated at an intersection of roads just south of the Turkish border.

It has been under IS control for more than two years.

Small numbers of IS militants are still resisting, using civilians as human shields, the alliance says.

'Street by street': BBC Manbij exclusive

On the frontline for IS-led city

Forces 'enter Manbij'

The Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), a coalition of US-backed fighters including the powerful Kurdish YPG militia, launched a campaign to retake the northern city two months ago.

They were backed by US-led air strikes on IS positions.

After some heavy fighting, Manbij was encircled and completely cut off in June.

An SDF commander, Adnan Abu-Amjad, said his forces were "advancing cautiously" into the city and had taken over 80% of the town. The main obstacle was that IS was using civilians as human shields.

He said the "small groups" of militants that remained had been surrounded by SDF soldiers.
The town is at a crossroads to other areas where ISIL is contesting the control by the Syrian government.  It could also effect the group's ability to move fighters from and through Turkey.


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