Manbij Military Council fighters stand at a checkpoint overlooking rising smoke from the city of Manbij, Aleppo province, Syrian Kurdistan June 8, 2016. (Photo: Reuters/Rodi Said)

Published by Kurdistan24 9 June 2016

MANBIJ, Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdistan24) – On Thursday, insurgents of the Islamic State (IS) disguised as Kurdish fighters infiltrated a village in the vicinity of the northern Syrian towns of Manbij and Jarabulus.

Kurdistan24 correspondent embedded with the Kurdish-led, US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) operation reported that a group of IS insurgents put on YPG and SDF uniforms, entered the village of Ghandourah that belongs to a district of the same name, Ghandoura, north of Manbij, and killed 34 civilians.

The village of Ghandoura (some 7 km/4 miles to Manbij) is inhabited by Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen.

An activist in Manbij who spoke to Kurdistan24 on condition of anonymity said that IS insurgents committed this crime in the north of Manbij to ease the pressure on Manbij that is besieged by the SDF from the east, north and south.

“When the disguised IS insurgents entered Ghandoura village, people greeted them with ‘Long live SDF!’, but the insurgents shot dozens of people and captured many of those who greeted them,” the activist said.

Redwan Bezar, Kurdistan24 correspondent embedded with SDF, reported that the village of Ghandoura was liberated the day before the shooting, but the northern side of the village was not totally secured.

“The village is located on a strategic road between both IS-strongholds, Manbij and Jarabulus, so the terrorists’ attack was to regain the road,” an SDF commander told Kurdistan24.

Responding to the IS attack, fighters of Manbij Military Council, an ally of the SDF, followed the insurgents and killed a few of them, while many others escaped.

The Manbij operation whose name was changed into Martyr Abu Layla operation was launched on May 31.

So far about 75 villages have been liberated by the SDF aided by the US-led coalition airstrikes, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks the conflict using sources on the ground.


Editing by Ava Homa