Syrian Democratic Forces are pursuing the last remnants of ISIS inside Manbij which is located in the Aleppo countryside, northern Syria. Dozens of ISIS fighters are still in the city centre, and the operation to completely “liberate the city” is expected to finish within hours.
The signs of joy and pride could be seen on the faces of heavily armed fighters who were deployed on the streets of Manbij after they seized the city. The seizure of the city comes after two long months of fierce fighting, and the fighters are eagerly awaiting the day when complete control of the city is officially announced. Manbij was previously considered as one of the most prominent ISIS strongholds in the province of Aleppo.
Ibrahim Al-Hussein, an SDF fighter, told Agence France-Presse’s correspondents who were the first journalists to enter the city after the progress made that “Daesh is finished. The town will be liberated in the coming hours”.
Another fighter Abu Ammar told AFP that “We are very close to the security quarter. Just 75 metres and we will storm it”. However, he also warned that “Daesh is using every malicious tactic in the book, from booby-trapped cars to human shields”.
Video clips taken by the AFP show two storey buildings and empty commercial properties that have been partially destroyed as a result of bombing. Fighters can also be seen roaming the streets.
The head of the Raqa Falcons Brigade, an Arab contingent of the SDF, Fayyad Al-Ghanem said that storming the centre “has been delayed because we are trying to protect civilians and get them out… without causing them any harm”. He added that “Daesh is now resorting to burning their homes and planting explosives to slow our offensive”.