ALEPPO – The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Manbij Military Council finished an operation on Saturday to secure defense lines, after the liberation of Syria’s border city of Manbij from ISIS militants last week.
“The efforts of the SDF forces and MMC in securing the defence lines north of the Sajur river was finished, to prevent infiltration attempts by ISIS militants,” the council said, adding that the SDF withdrew from the area handing its position to the local MMC fighters.
“We announce that the battle for the northern countryside of Manbij achieved its results, and the battle for this frontline is over,” the council said.
However, the council said, they will ‘continue to liberate the southern countryside of Manbij.’
At least 59 ISIS militants were killed in renewed clashes with the SDF forces before the the frontlines near Manbij were secured on Saturday.
Handing over Liberated City to Locals
The Manbij Military Council (MMC) on Friday said that the campaign to liberate the countryside of Manbij is ongoing, while the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) handed over all their military points to the council.
The statement comes after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in a statement said that they expect the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YGP) –a leading member of the SDF– to withdraw from Manbij.
The Council said that many villages in the countryside of Manbij were liberated with the help of the SDF, while the SDF reinforced its defensive lines in the north frontlines from the countryside to the Euphrates river.
“We as the MMC declare to the public opinion that the SDF after they took out Daesh [ISIS] from Manbij and their heroic support to us, they have handed all military points in the city to the Manbij Military Council,” the council said.
“We in the MMC thank the SDF for all their efforts and sacrifice to serve our people in Manbij and all of Syria,” the council said.
“As we understood the plan with our partners that the YPG would indeed go to the eastern side of the Euphrates River when the battle was over. The battle’s not over yet. They’ve still got work that they’re doing in their clearing,” Colonel Christopher Garver, the US-led coalition spokesperson said on 16 August.
“They are now clearing through areas of the city through which Daesh retreated, looking for small pockets of Daesh fighters. Their stated aim is to make the city safe for civilians to return,” he said.
“This clearance is slow, difficult and dangerous because Daesh left behind a significant number of IEDs as they retreated, as we have seen them do many times when they retreat,” he added.
“This work will take time. Outside the city, the SDF are reinforcing their positions in the immediate vicinity of the city to protect against Daesh local counterattacks,” Garver said.
Reporting by: Jan Mohammed
Source: ARA News