Thousands return to Manbij after IS militants flee city

By on August 13, 2016

BEIRUT Thousands of displaced residents streamed back into the northern Syrian town of Manbij on Saturday after U.S.-backed warring parties ousted the final Islamic State militants from their former stronghold, residents and U.S. allies stated.

The U.S.-backed Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) announced on Friday they’d seized full keep an eye on of the town close to the Turkish border after the departure of the final of the militants, who had been the use of civilians as human shields.

Tons Of of cars and autos carrying households and their property flocked into the city from makeshift camps and villages within the geographical region, where most of the city’s residents took refuge all the way through the two-month campaign, in keeping with an SDF professional and family who were in touch with residents.

“Hundreds are coming back and shops are opening. These Days is the first day lifestyles is returning to customary,” stated Sharfan Darwish, spokesman for the SDF-allied Manbij Armed Forces Council told Reuters from town, adding they were working to restore common products and services.

Pro-SDF News websites showed jubilant households who had been trapped in the metropolis during the preventing speaking about how harsh lifestyles Was Once beneath Islamic State and its imposition of strict costume codes in public.

Their photos showed males shaving their beards and veiled women environment hearth to niqabs they were pressured to put on in public that coated their entire face except for the eyes.

The militants have been eventually ousted after a deal Used To Be reached on Friday that secured their departure at the side of some 2,000 civilians, believed to were their family, toward their stronghold of Jarablus close to the border with Turkey, a Syrian from Manbij who is in touch with relatives there said.

It Was not clear whether or not those leaving were hostages or had left voluntarily, a Kurdish source mentioned.

The SDF, fashioned closing year by way of recruiting Arabs to enroll in forces with the powerful YPG Kurdish militia, launched an offensive with the support of U.S.-led strikes on the end of May Just to take away Islamic State from areas it controls along the Turkish border.

BLOW TO MILITANTS

The lack of Manbij, occupied by Islamic State due to the fact early 2014, is a big blow to the militants as it is of strategic importance, serving as a conduit for the transit of overseas jihadists and provisions from the Turkish border.

The operation, wherein U.S. different forces performed a major function on the bottom, marks the most bold improve with the aid of a group allied to Washington in Syria in view that the us launched its Armed Forces campaign in opposition to Islamic State two years ago.

Darwish attributed the speedy return to lifestyles within the city to a Military and aerial campaign that he stated spared many neighborhoods the place Lots of civilians had remained even at the height of combating.

Despite intensive U.S. bombing of bridges, several hospitals and a big silo for the duration of the campaign, the town seems to have been spared the devastation of other cities in the Syrian conflict.

The SDF, which had already cleared over Thirteen,000 mines, Was sweeping some neighborhoods in search of militant sleeper cells suspected to still be running.

A former resident of town stated he had reviews from family members that the Kurdish YPG, who are the dominant staff within the SDF, had rounded up dozens of younger males earlier than screening them as a result of considerations that a few of them belonged to sleeper cells.

The seize of Manbij bolsters the position of Kurds who already keep watch over an uninterrupted 400 km (250 mile) stretch of Syria’s northern border with Turkey.

Washington has long lacked able proxies on the bottom, however has discovered its first sturdy allies in SDF.

Their features have alarmed rebellion forces scuffling with President Bashar al-Assad, who say they’ll reply with Force to any try to ruin up Syria.

(Reporting through Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Modifying by way of Adrian Croft)


Reuters: High News

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