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ISIL 'almost completely' ousted from northern Syrian city of Manbij

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ISIL 'almost completely' ousted from northern Syrian city of Manbij

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A US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters has taken “almost complete control” of the strategic northern Syrian city of Manbij, captured by ISIL two years ago, according to a monitor.

“The Syrian Democratic Forces took control of Manbij on Saturday and are combing the city in search of the last remaining jihadists,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Manbij, in Aleppo province, is a strategic city for ISIL, supplying weapons and fighters through the Turkish border.

The SDF launched its offensive to retake Manbij on May 31, with the help of air strikes from the US-led coalition. It first encircled the town in early June and launched its assault later that month, but faced fierce resistance from jihadists using suicide attacks and car bombs.

The spokesman of the SDF-allied Manbij military council, Sharfan Darwish, told Reuters news agency that small pockets of ISIL militants were still resisting, but that around 90 percent of the city had been cleared.

Meanwhile, in the city of Aleppo, a coalition of Islamist rebels stormed a major artillery base on Friday, but the Syrian army said it had repelled the attack and killed hundreds of insurgents.

Aleppo’s rebel-held east has been under siege since early July, pounded by Syrian government and Russian air strikes. Around a quarter of a million people are thought to be trapped by the fighting.

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