Rebel forces have reportedly advanced and liberated the Syrian city of Manbij, which until Friday was an Islamic State stronghold for two years.
Various reports say that the civilians from the liberated Syrian city are rejoicing; women are burning their niqabs the terrorist group required them to wear, while the men are shaving their beards. There are even reports of people smoking cigarettes.
Despite this, there are still other reports of small pockets of resistance where militants are using Syrian civilians as human shields in order to escape, which would indicate Manbij is not entirely liberated, but Pentagon spokesman Gordon Trowbridge said during a press briefing that ISIL was “on the ropes.”
CNN‘s coverage of the liberation points this out too and offers more input from Trowbridge.
“That… is a major setback for ISIL at the hands of our partners the SDF, including thousands of Syrian Arab troops that are fighting to liberate their own homes. It is also the latest significant milestone in the coalition’s efforts to cut off and eliminate a hub of ISIL activity located outside Syria.”
Reuters is one of the news services reporting on the Syrian city’s liberation, and they were told by a member of the SDF who are allied with the Manbij Military Council, about freeing 2,000 civilian hostages.
“The city is now fully under our control but we are undertaking sweeping operations.”
It was also said that there was still a threat in the Syrian city from militant sleeper cells.
Rebels liberated Manbij by also going door-to-door to look for ISIL fighters.
The U.S.-led coalition includes Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), who are affiliated with the PKK and are considered a terrorist group by the Turkish government.
Al Arabiya takes a different view of the liberation to point out that after ISIS has been pushed out of the Sunni cities such as Anbar in Iraq, the communities and the cities are left shattered, with little restoration of basic services. Such is also the case in Syria.
Manbij Military Council is made up of fighters who were forced out of the now liberated Syrian city by the Islamic State, who formed in April of this year and collaborated with several other militant groups to come back and free the city.
The SDF and the PYD began operations to take back Manbij with the council at the end of May.
It has been said that the liberation of the Syrian city is important because of its location, as it will apparently cut off lines of communication with Raqqa, which is the self-declared capital of the Islamic State.
The Turkish-American web portal Turkishny goes further into the details for preventing the Kurds from taking the city for themselves.
In March, the Inquisitr wrote about the liberated northern part of Syria which is under Kurdish control away from Assad’s forces, who were under attack during the earliest parts of the civil war before the terrorist group, ISIL, ISIS, Daesh or also known as the Islamic State, began to seize territory.
Kurdish control of Manbij would certainly hurt relations with the U.S.-led coalition as there is some remote involvement with Turkey as they border the newly liberated city, who have a rocky relationship with the Kurds. But, since the recent coup attempt on Turkish president Erdogan by a faction of the armed forces who claimed Turkey would be liberated from his rule, he has accused cleric Fethullah Gulen,who currently resides in the United States, of the attempt and is demanding his extradition.
Al-Jazeera provides details on other cities that have been liberated and the complexities of the battles with the Syrian government’s toxic relationship with allies and conflict with the United States and bordering nations. Many governments, including the United States, are discussing liberating the city of Damascus from the Assad government for war crimes and continuing the civil war. Liberating Raqqa is reportedly next.
[Photo by Alexander Kots/Komsomolskaya/AP Images]