The Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) has now taken control of 90% of western Manbij including the National Hospital, captured earlier this week, which was being used by the Islamic State (IS) as a command post and logistics centre.Heavy fighting is still going on around pockets of resistance, in particular at Tetbekat Prison where some ISIS militants are still holding out.
Currently, the predominantly Kurdish SDF are moving into the centre of the city and attacking the main Post Office and a cultural Centre and the whole of Al-Hazawani district is now under SDF control.
Yesterday, Thursday, the SDF gave IS 48 hours to leave Manbij entirely to avoid further civilian bloodshed and the complete destruction of the city. Approximately 25,000 civilians are still thought to be trapped in Manbij. The IS fighters would be allowed to leave the city unmolested with light weapons if they agree to the SDF demands. 6 SDF were reported killed by IS suicide attacks on the Manbij frontlines on Wednesday, but IS losses are far higher.
IS launched counter-attacks from the Sajur River area to the north of the city last weekend, but it resulted in the death of 111 x IS Jihadists and the capture of good stocks of weapons and ammunition by the SDF. Another 12 x IS fighters have been killed this morning, Friday, on the south side of the city as the SDF break into the Al-Banawi district just to the east of Al-Hazwani.
The fighting in Manbij has been very violent with high casualties on both sides. ISIS’s Amaq claimed that 1650 SDF personnel were killed in the Manbij operations. However, it is very unlikely that the death toll even reached half that figure. Unfortunately, it is the civilians of the densely-populated Manbij who are most devastated by the fighting. Two days ago, it was reported that about 300 civilians were killed by an accidental air strike by the US-led coalition.