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SDF rejects reports of targeting Manbij civilians as terrorist propaganda

By Rudaw 20/7/2016
Members of SDF forces in Manbij. Rudaw Photo
Members of SDF forces in Manbij. Rudaw Photo

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—The Manbij military council of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has denied reports of large numbers of civilian casualties during the ongoing battle for the northern Syrian city.

The military council said in a statement that facts on the ground are being distorted by certain groups who “support terrorism”.

“From the beginning of the Manbij liberation campaign, there are suspected parties who try to distort the facts and ongoing events on the ground,” read the statement a copy of which was obtained by Rudaw. “They publish fabricated news on the ongoing battle to liberate the city and this is lies to confuse public.”

The Kurdish-majority SDF has been engaged in intense battle with militants of the Islamic State (ISIS) for the control of the northern Syrian city of Manbij since early June.

The forces are still within a mile of the city.

Reports published in the Arab media and by the Syrian observatory for human rights this week claimed that more than 50 civilians had been killed by the advancing forces, specifically in the village of Altukhar.

The military council rejected the reports, saying that the SDF forces are ensuring the safety of the city’s population particularly during their escape from ISIS.

The council’s statement says that they “do not deny civilian casualties in the fight against ISIS, and this is unfortunate, but the first mission is to reassure civilian life during these difficult times,”

The military council says that the village of Altukhar was empty of civilians and the SDF and their coalition partners had only targeted an assembly of ISIS militants.

As they continue to record victories against ISIS, said the statement, their forces “protect and ensure the life of those civilians who are escaping during the battle,”

The Manbij military council goes on to say that the reports fail to mention thousands of civilians held hostage by ISIS.

“We realize that ISIS still holds captive thousands of civilians as human shield,” reads the statement. “This is exactly what’s being deliberately hidden.”

The council goes so far as to accuse those who publish such reports of covering up terrorism.


Lars | 20/7/2016
ISIS uses kidnapped civilians as human shields against air attacks but that's not what the Arab media publishes, instead they blame SDF for civilian casualties! this proves that ISIS still has a lot fans in the Arab world, a troubling development that needs to be exposed.
So | 20/7/2016
So what does people expect. Zero civilians casualty. This is war and Isis is holding them hostage refusing to let civilian leave. So how to you fight Isis. With both hands tie behind your back. The the SDF will suffer horrendous casualty fighting that way. It is all Isis fault for keeping the civilian in the city. Isis should let the civilian go and fight fair, that is face to face without hostages. If Isis care for the civilian. I don't think they care for the people at all. They are heartless bastard.

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