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Isis in Syria: US-Backed Forces Target Jihadist Stronghold on Turkish Border
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US-backed forces are threatening to cut the last link Isis has to the outside world by launching an offensive against the town of Manbij west of the Euphrates.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – a Kurdish-led group supported by US airstrikes – has launched the attack on the town close to the Turkish border in an attempt to cut Isis off from an area it uses to move weapons and fighters across the border.

US airstrikes have destroyed bridges between Manbij and the Turkish border showing that the US is backing the attack despite Turkey’s past objections to the Syrian Kurds extending their control of northern Syria just south of the Turkish frontier.

manbij-offensive.jpg
The predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (yellow) offensive against Isis territory (black) near Manbij seen on 1 June 2016. (Liveuamap)

An SDF commander told a Kurdistan24 television correspondent embedded with the SDF operation against Manbij that their forces had already crossed the Euphrates and were close to the town. He said that “our forces reached the outskirts of Manbij and are now holding a series of hills about 15 kilometres from it. We can see its grain silos from the top of the hills.” Isis has retreated from some 20 villages in the area.

The SDF includes Sunni Arab tribal units as well as Turkman and Christians but its military strength depends on the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). In the last few days, they have started a multi-pronged attack against Isis along the Euphrates between its de facto Syrian capital Raqqa and Jarabulus on the Turkish border.

One axis of attack is directed at Syria’s largest dam and hydroelectric power station at Tabqa to the west of Raqqa. This is an industrial town, once largely inhabited by Allawites and Baathists who got jobs there because of their loyalty to the Syrian regime, though they have long ince fled. Isis captured Tabqa airbase in 2014 and massacred 160 captured government soldiers.

Isis is likely to fight hard to retain control of the territory linking Raqqa and north Aleppo province which is fertile, heavily populated and has access to the Turkish border. Turkey originally forbade the Syrian Kurds or the SDF from crossing the Euphrates and, when they did so five months ago, warned them not to take Manbij.

The US was wary of offending Turkey and did not bomb in support of the SDF advance at that time, but now appears to have changed its policy. The US has long urged Turkey to deploy 30,000 troops to block Isis members from entering Turkey via a 60-mile-long section of the Syrian-Turkish frontier held by Isis. The US may have been be worried by recent Isis military successes in this area against US and Turkish backed Syrian armed opposition groups.

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Isis is also under intense pressure at Fallujah in Iraq where its forces are hemmed into the beleaguered city where they are greatly outnumbered by the Iraqi security forces and the Shia paramilitaries. The Iraqi army has in theory opened humanitarian corridors for the 50,000 civilians trapped in Fallujah to escape, but they have been detaining men leaving the city to see if they are Isis members. Given that the government will suspect anybody who has remained in Fallujah long after the majority of its 300,000 people have fled of having Isis sympathies or connections, many now being detained may be held for a long time.

(Republished from The Independent by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: ISIS, Syria 
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  1. Bianca says:

    Typical theatre. This is all about preventing Syria’s army taking back the territory. The sad references on “Sunni” and “Christian” and “Turkmen” equal opportunity display of “diversity” is a worn out and boring pattern long since not effective in fooling anyone — except sad souls in State Department. What is the end-game here? To make Kurds agree to US military base, and agitate for the autonomy from Syria. With such a foothold, a noise is already heard of the great future wars of liberation of Turkish Kurds, Iraqi Kurds and — guess what, Iranian Kurds. What a glorious future of troublemaking for generations to come, and the most glorious money making of war profiteers, backed by the Purse of the United States — and will require as neocons put it only “will”. As for money, Social Security has not been “leveraged” completely, and in the end, we will believe that the “Trust” Fund is empty. We will accept any garbage to continue the “low intensity” wars. What for? Ask Hillary, she seems to know the strategy, but will not tell anyone — it is her secret. While Trump has laid out his strategy — and the only one worth reading since the Cold War, and the media is dissing it. Naturally, hoping we do not read. And many people do not. And assume that the endless stupid wars are the necessity, and we have not choice but to fight them, to stay, to pay , pay, pay and pay. And the population there — who cares. They will flood Europe, or else drown in the Mediterranean. Every time they fish out one more baby — let us remember, those are Hillary’s babies.

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  2. Rehmat says:

    There was never Sunni, Shi’ite, Christian, Druze or Jewish problem under Assad ‘Ba’athist’ dynasty which is a secularist and Godless organization led by Alawite Assad family.

    The five-year-old insurgency in Syria is an Israeli Project against the ‘Axis of Resistance’ (Syria, Hizbullah and Iran).

    On July 4, a conference of Syrian anti-regime groups was held in Saint-Germain in France. The meeting was attended by 200 people representing none of the Syrian groups calling for reforms in Syria – the ‘Democratic change in Syria’. The meeting was organized by La Regle du Jeu (The Rule of the Game) magazine and website which is headed by Zionist Jew Bernard-Henri Levy. The other Zionist Jews who attended the meeting included Bernard Kouchner, former French foreign minister, Frederik Ansel, a member of Israel’s ruling Likud Party, Alex Goldfarb, former Knesset member and adviser to Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak and Andre Glucksmann, an Islamophobe French writer.

    Levy became world famous when in 2009, he ran a campaign The Polanski Liberation Front against Swiss authorities for jailing Jewish award-winning director, Roman Polanski, on charges of raping a 13-year-old girl in the 1970s. Polanski had fled from the US in 1978 to avoid prosecution.

    The symbolic Syrian attendee was no other than Moulhem Droubi, the Muslim Brotherhood representative in Paris. That show how much threat Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Syria poses to the Zionist entity.

    https://rehmat1.com/2011/07/08/israeli-conference-on-syria/

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  3. 5371 says:

    Don’t IS expect an Armageddon-type battle at Manbij in the last days, to be followed by all sorts of shenanigans involving the return to earth of figures from Koranic scripture?

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