US-led coalition delivering aid to civilians in post-ISIS Manbij

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A SDF member helping civilians evacuate the city centre of Manbij, where heavy fighting has been ongoing between the SDF and ISIS for more than two months. File photo: ARA News

ARA News

MANBIJ – The US-led coalition has started to provide humanitarian assistance to civilians in the Syrian city of Manbij, a coalition spokesman said. This aid comes after the local council in Manbij requested immediate support. 

“In continuing to provide humanitarian assistance to Manbij, the coalition is facilitating the delivery of more than 200 metric tons of food that will be provided to about 2,400 families through the Manbij Organization for Relief and Development,” the coalition’s spokesman Colonel John Dorrian. 

“The food includes essentials such as rice, flour, chickpeas, and tomato paste, baby formula and water purifying tablets. In some cases, this means families will get anywhere from 30 to 60 days of food and supplies. In addition, the coalition is providing training to remove many of the explosive remnants of war that Daesh typically leave behind once they’ve been driven from an area,” he added, using another acronym for the Islamic State (ISIS). 

The city of Manbij was liberated by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in mid-August, but the local Manbij council has struggled to feed the civilian population. Although the SDF have received material support, there has been almost no humanitarian aid either to Kobane or Manbij–two major Syrian cities, scarred by fighting between the SDF and ISIS.

The Manbij Organization for Relief and Development, established In June, has provided food and medicines to Manbij civilians without support from third parties. Last week, they asked for international support. 

In addition to hunger, Manbij residents also have to cope with landmines which were planted by ISIS. The city is still full of improvised explosive devices, which have killed at least three school children. 

“Those trained by the coalition have successfully removed the explosive remnants of war. Enabling the reopening of the Manbij hospital as well as many homes and schools in the city,” said Col. Dorrian.

The coalition spokesman said that their goal is to re-establish some degree of normalcy and stability.

“So in Manbij, Daesh [ISIS] had had quite a bit of time, more than a year in that area, they were deeply entrenched there. So we have a situation where the Daesh fighters there had emplaced a lot of improvised explosive devices,” Dorrian said. 

“The people that were living in that area were people who were displaced from that area, who were living under really difficult squalor type conditions. There are basic human needs that have to be met,” he added.

“In addition to that our forces always have medics in this sort of thing that they can assist in treating some of the people that have been hurt, either in the liberation battle, or as a result of the explosive remnants of war that are left behind. We also conduct some training to make sure that those things can be removed,” Dorrian concluded.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg

Source: ARA News

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