Somewhere between 14 (Kurdish claim) and 16 (ISIS claim) U.S. coalition airstrikes struck the Islamic State stronghold of Manbij yesterday while mostly Kurdish troops of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) pushed forward inside the city.
The SDF took control of the majority of the Shariat neighbourhood, the city’s most western district, including seizing control of its Sharia school. This happened after the district was cut off from the ISIS-held areas at the city centre yesterday.
Meanwhile, modest gains were reported at the city’s southern district at the SDF fighters managed to enter the Al-Adiyat neighbourhood.
According to a Kurdish source, two ISIS suicide trucks were blown up before they reached their target near the Manbij hospital, just west of the city centre.
However, ISIS’ main media outlet, Amaq News, reported that 8 SDF fighters died during the two suicide attacks.
Currently, approximately 60% of the city is controlled by the Islamic State as ISIS maintains full control of the city’s eastern flank and most of its northern flank.
Manbij city has been fully besieged for a month – a report from yesterday suggests that the SDF leadership and Islamic State are negotiating a deal which would have ISIS fighters evacuated in return for the SDF establishing full control of the city.
Manbij is located on the western bank of the Euphrates in northeastern Aleppo.