SDF withdraws from Manbij after liberation, handing city over to local council

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SDF-led Manbij Military Council announcing the outcomes of the anti-ISIS operation in the Syrian border city of Manbij. File photo: ARA News

ARA News 

MANBIJ – 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: Wladimir van Wilgenburg

Source: ARA News

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