Syrian Democratic Forces militias are advancing slowly in the area of Manbij, Aleppo, where heavy fighting with ISIS continues at a time when thousands of blockaded civilians are suffering from a humanitarian disaster caused by the blockade imposed by forces on the city of Manbij on the one hand, and ISIS’ presence inside the city, on the other.
While the medical and humanitarian situation is getting worse day by day, residents of neighbourhoods where clashes are taking place are being forced to migrate to neighbourhoods located in the middle of the small city and are living in public parks, shops and warehouses.
The Syrian Democratic Forces yesterday took control of Mabna Nufoos, central Manbij, according to the Russian news agency Sputnik. The forces were able to seize a tank and kill more than 25 members of ISIS. Violent clashes between the two sides also continued in the northern part of Al-Hazawinah neighbourhood and in the vicinity of the national hospital. In addition to this, the international coalition carried out intensive air raids on ISIS controlled sites within Manbij.
The Syrian News Desk quoted a source from Manbij who said that some of the city’s residents who number around 25,000 have taken up residence in a park to avoid bombing carried out by the international coalition that is supporting the militia in a campaign to control Manbij. Others are living in shops and cellars that were used as warehouses, and the source added that ISIS did not allow safe pathways to be opened so that civilians could leave the city for the countryside. It is likely that it aims to limit the effectiveness of air strikes and use civilians as human shields in the event that it no longer controls the city.