• Thousands of civilians trapped in Syria’s Manbij – monitor

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    BEIRUT: Tens of thousands of civilians are trapped inside the northern Syrian city of Manbij after US-backed fighters surrounded the Islamic State group stronghold, a monitor said Saturday. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) encircled Manbij on Friday, severing IS’s principal supply route between Turkey and its de facto Syrian capital, Raqa. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based monitor, said warplanes from a US-led coalition were conducting heavy bombing raids on Manbij. The city has been held by IS since 2014 and the Observatory said that thousands of inhabitants had recently fled Manbij as air strikes intensified.

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