Pentagon Says US-Backed Rebels Capture Manbij ‘Command Center’

Fighting Continues Over City as Hospital Falls

by Jason Ditz, July 19, 2016

According to the Pentagon, the US-backed Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) faction, dominated by the Kurdish YPG, is finally making some progress in their multi-month offensive in Manbij, having captured a hospital in the city which they believe was the “command center” for ISIS there.

That doesn’t mean the SDF has taken over Manbij, or even close to it, however, as the statement confirmed fighting on at least four different fronts inside Manbij trying to move deeper into the overwhelmingly ISIS-held city.

SDF forces entered Manbij over a month ago, though they were at one point repelled by an ISIS counteroffensive, and had to work their way back into the city. Their offensives have involved intense US airstrikes, with reports that the US and its coalition killed 76 civilians in strikes in the area in the past 24 hours.

The US has launched over 450 airstrikes against Manbij since the offensive began, with an eye on helping the Kurdish-dominated force take the city. The city connects ISIS territory in northern Aleppo and their capital city of Raqqa.

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