IS Launches Counter-Attacks on US-Backed Forces in Syria

IS Launches Counter-Attacks on US-Backed Forces in SyriaIS Launches Counter-Attacks on US-Backed Forces in Syria

The self-styled Islamic State terrorist group launched a counter-attack against fighters trying to capture the Syrian city of Manbij on Monday, inflicting heavy casualties on the US-backed forces, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the militants said.

The monitor said the militants won back three villages south of the besieged city in a surprise assault against fighters from the US-backed Syria Democratic Forces. At least 28 SDF fighters were killed, Reuters reported.

Two years after IS proclaimed its caliphate to rule over all Muslims from swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, its many foes are advancing on a number of fronts in both countries. Their aim is to close in on its two capitals, Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq.

An SDF spokesman said forces succeeded in repulsing the militant attack and remained positioned on the outskirts of the city, most of whose residents remain trapped inside due to mines planted by the militants, who have dug in to defend it.

IS militants were also able to push back the Syrian Army, which had reached as close as 10 km south of the strategic town of Tabqa, an IS-held city on the Euphrates River, in Raqqa province.

The town, some 50 km west of Raqqa city, the militant’s de facto capital, appears to be the first target of a major Syrian Army operation in Raqqa province backed by Russian air power that began earlier this month.