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MANBIJ – The radical group of Islamic State (ISIS) has recruited dozens of young men from the Arab community in the city of Manbij north of Syria’s Aleppo province to join the fight against the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the area, local sources reported on Monday.
“ISIS has forced over 150 young men, including teenagers, in Manbij to join its ranks in the fight against SDF,” local media activist Anass Saddiq told ARA News.
The group has reportedly launched a campaign of arrests across Manbij city, targeting young men who have been moved to a training camp where they are expected to be prepared for joining the battlefront.
The pro-ISIS Amaq media office also confirmed the news, describing the recruits as volunteers who are “willing to die to protect the Caliphate against enemies of Allah”, in reference to the US-backed SDF.
“A large number of teenagers are now being trained in the ISIS jihadi camp to participate in the fight against SDF,” Saddiq reported. “Most of them are being used as suicide bombers.”
Last week, the Syrian Democratic Forces launched a battle for recapturing Manbij city and its countryside from ISIS. The SDF has so far regained control of more than 25 villages in the vicinity of Manbij, while the clashes started getting closer to the city itself, military sources told ARA News.
Christopher Garver, the official spokesman for the US-led coalition against ISIS, said in an interview with ARA News on Sunday that the US-backed SDF will continue the ongoing operation for Manbij until liberating the area from ISIS.
“For the US it’s critical that the ISIS-held Manbij pocket of 98-kilometers is seized from the radical group,” Garver said. “As to why the Manbij pocket is important, it represents a major border crossing point where foreign fighters can cross into Syria from Turkey.”
Reporting by: Raman Yusif
Source: ARA News