Over the last week, the Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) have made significant advances into Manbij, pushing the Islamic State (IS) fighters into last stand positions in the old part of the city and in the northeast.
SDF now control all of the west of Manbij except Tetbekat Prison which is still held by IS. In the southeastern part of Manbij SDF have captured the whole of the Al-Kajli neighbourhood. Latest reports also suggest the SDF liberated the Al-Naimi district yesterday, Monday, immediately to the north of Al-Kajli.
Coming from the northern side, SDF have been fighting hard to capture the Jazeera Road and roundabout to the north of Al-Naimi. Linking the 2 sides of the city would completely isolate those Jihadists remaining in the eastern side of the city where SDF have also advanced, capturing a school, a clinic and another roundabout in recent days.
SDF advances have been supported by Coalition airstrikes hitting a mechanised bakery held by IS in the south-west, IS fighter concentrations in the southeast and an attempted IS counter-attack near a gas station on the M4 Highway to the south of Manbij.
The Military Council of Manbij, fighting as part of the SDF, yesterday also liberated the village of Jib Nashama to the south of Manbij city near Im Rous, footage of SDF vehicle and troop movements.
Since last week around 6,000 civilians have escaped from the city. Reports today, Tuesday, that “40-50,000 civilians have now been freed and the SDF now controls 80% of the city” do not as yet square with published maps and may well be over-optimistic at this stage, though the capture of the entire city should not take too much longer.
Faruk al-Mashi, the co-chair of the newly appointed Manbij City Council, currently based in Abu Qalqal in the Manbij countryside, called on international assistance to support the swelling numbers of displaced civilians escaping Manbij city. Although, they were very grateful for limited food and medical supplies sent from Kobane, it was not enough for sustained relief. Injured civilians from Manbij are also being treated in Kobane city.