Damascus: A coalition of Arab and Kurd fighters on Saturday seized the Islamic State group stronghold of Manbij, two months after launching an operation to capture the strategic city in northern Syria, a monitor said.
“The Syrian Democratic Forces took control of Manbij on Saturday and are combing the city in search of the last remaining jihadists,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Backed by air strikes from the US-led coalition, the SDF launched its offensive to retake Manbij on May 31. The town had served as a key transit point along IS’s supply route from the Turkish border to Raqa, the de facto capital of its self-styled Islamic “caliphate”.
The SDF first encircled the town in early June and surged into it later that month. But its assault was slowed by a fierce jihadist fightback using suicide attackers and car bombs. Syria’s conflict first erupted in March 2011 with anti-government protests but has since evolved into a multi-front war largely dominated by jihadist groups.