Islamic State is using giant smokescreens around the Syrian city of Manbij in an apparent attempt to blind aircraft bombing its positions.
After being on the receiving end of regular air strikes from the Operation Inherent Resolve coalition, ISIS has burned tires and barrels full of gasoline creating plumes of black smoke surrounding the city. U.S.-backed rebels, aptly named the Manbij Military Council (MMC), are currently in the midst of retaking the city from ISIS. MMC is allied with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a loose alliance of various militia groups fighting ISIS led by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units.
— Mutlu Civiroglu (@mutludc) June 2, 2016
Manbij has been saturated with coalition bombings in the last few days, with the Pentagon reporting 18 strikes on various ISIS positions within the city on Monday alone.
In preparation for the assault, MMC commander Adnan Abu Amjad told civilians to leave the city.
“We urge our people in the city of Manbij to stay away from all centers and positions where the Daesh terrorists are present because they will be military targets for our forces. We call on them to take measures to ensure their safety,” said Amjad in a statement.
Amjad also requested support from the local population, which is made up of a significant portion of Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen and Circassians, all of which MMC and SDF claim to represent.
In addition to smokescreens, ISIS has attempted to use civilians as human shields to prevent air strikes on key positions. This tactic has been witnessed most recently in the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) assault on the Iraqi city of Fallujah. (RELATED: ISIS Turns Back Iraqi Forces From Fallujah With Human Shields)
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