Arab-Kurdish alliance seizes key IS' stronghold in northern Syria

Arab-Kurdish alliance seizes key IS' stronghold in northern Syria
Syrian Democratic Forces say they have completely recaptured the Syrian city of Manbij from the Islamic State group after months of fighting.
2 min read
06 August, 2016
After months of fighting, Manbij has been taken by the Arab-Kurdish alliance [AFP]
A coalition of Arab and Kurdish fighters seized the Islamic State group stronghold of Manbij in northern Syria.

Syrian Democratic Forces have been fighting for two months to capture the strategic city and have now taken full control of Manbij.

"The Syrian Democratic Forces took control of Manbij on Saturday and are combing the city in search of the last remaining jihadists," said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Backed by air strikes from the US-led coalition, the SDF launched its offensive to retake Manbij on 31 May.

The town had served as a key transit point along IS' supply route from the Turkish border to Raqqa, the de facto capital of its self-styled Islamic "caliphate".

The SDF first encircled the town in early June and surged into it later that month.

But its assault was slowed by a fierce militant fightback using suicide attackers and car bombs.

US airstrikes on the stronghold killed hundreds of civilians and 2,500 fled the area last week.  

There have also been reports of killings committed by Kurdish fighters against Syrian civilians in areas they have captured from IS.

Syria's conflict first erupted in March 2011 with anti-government protests been shot by the military. Since then it has evolved into a multi-front war largely dominated by militant groups on all sides.