After 42 days of intense fighting, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continue their advance on Manbij. The heaviest fighting is occurring in the western, south-western, and northern flanks of ISIS’s operational capital in Aleppo governorate.
In the western districts of the city, the SDF reached the National Hospital on Saturday and battles are still ongoing around the hospital and the Bahrat roundabout to liberate the Sab’ Bahrat district.
In the southern Hazawani neighbourhood, now mainly under SDF control, the fighters reached an automated bakery and killed an IS commander, Safe Yahya Rajab, who was described as a “leading IS security official”.
In fighting near the National Hospital, the IS commander of the western Manbij sector, Abu Suheyl Marawi, was also said to have been killed yesterday, Sunday.
Another prominent IS Jihadi, described as an “emir”, Abu Khalid Al-Tunisi, was killed by an SDF shell while travelling in his car through Manbij. 4 x IS fighters accompanying him were also wiped out. In the Hazawani district, 26 x IS fighters were said to have been killed in clashes between the 2 sides, 12 of them as they tried to escape in a transport vehicle.
On the southern side of the city, the SDF liberated the Adiyat School and while suffering from continued Coalition airstrikes IS tried to cover their activities by setting fires and producing vast clouds of smoke.
North of Manbij, IS tried another attack on SDF liberated villages west of Dadat along the frontline formed by the Sajur River but were repelled. In the clash an IS vehicle fitted with a 23mm heavy machine gun was destroyed, plus another cannon, the occupants of the vehicle fleeing.
Even though the fighting is only intensifying as it nears the city center due to heavy use of IEDs, mines, and suicide bombers by ISIS militants, ISIS’s command structure and forces are gradually getting destroyed.