Liberating forces push towards Syria's Manbij

More than 130 "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) fighters have been killed in a coalition offensive on the city of Manbij in northern Syria, AFP reported Thursday (June 9th).

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been pushing west from the Euphrates River and have nearly encircled Manbij, a key point along ISIL's main supply line from the Turkish border to its eastern Syrian stronghold of al-Raqa.

The SDF has surrounded the city from the north, east and south. Early on Thursday its fighters were advancing towards the main road leading west out of Manbij, said Syrian Observatory for Human Rights head Rami Abdel Rahman.

A Thursday statement by the SDF's Manbij operations centre said its fighters were now close enough to target ISIL positions inside the city.

The Observatory said 132 ISIL fighters and 21 SDF fighters had been killed since the start of the offensive.

"Most of the ISIL fighters were killed in air raids by the international coalition," Abdel Rahman said.

He said dozens of bodies of ISIL fighters had been found on Thursday morning in small villages east of Manbij.

At least 30 civilians, including 11 children, also were killed, the Observatory said.

Meanwhile, France has deployed special forces in northern Syria to advise the SDF, a defence ministry official said Thursday, without giving further details.

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