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Kurdish YPG, US Forces in Major Offensive to Capture Key Road Junction of Manbij

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‘Kurdish-led forces have launched an offensive to capture the Syrian town of Manbij, a suspected supply route for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL also known as ISIS) group to smuggle weapons in from Turkey. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed coalition of armed groups led by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), was mobilizing near Manbij in the northern province of Aleppo on Thursday, the AFP news agency reported. In the past 24 hours, 18 coalition air strikes are reported to have targeted positions held by ISIL, also known as ISIS.

Jennifer Cafarella, a Syria analyst for the Institute for the Study of War in Washington DC, said if anti-ISIL fighters take Manbij and then Jarablus, that would sever ISIL’s link with Turkey. “Recapturing Manbij and ultimately advancing to Jarablus would disrupt but not eliminate ISIS’s ability to resupply,” she said. The US-led coalition has long had its eye on the so-called Manbij pocket. But an offensive on this mainly Arab region has run into opposition from Turkey, a key partner in the alliance.

The US sees the SDF – which is dominated by YPG – as the most effective ground force against ISIL in Syria. Jennifer Cafarella, a Syria analyst for the Institute for the Study of War in Washington DC, said if anti-ISIL fighters take Manbij and then Jarablus, that would sever ISIL’s link with Turkey. The US sees the SDF – which is dominated by YPG – as the most effective ground force against ISIL in Syria.’ [1]

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[1] “SDF closes in on ISIL supply route in Syria’s Manbij”; Al-Jazeera, June 3rd, 2016.

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