Mıstefa Minbic: It is impossible for ISIS gangs to escape
Manbij Military Council member and Thuwar Manbij Commander Mıstefa Minbic stated that it was impossible for ISIS gangs to escape, and the gangs faced the risk of annihilation.
ANF spoke to Manbij Military Council member and Thuwar Manbij Commander Mıstefa Minbic on the clashes around Manbij city center:
Dear Minbic, several media outlets suggested that your forces have entered Manbij city center. Have your fighters entered Manbij?
As you know, we had announced that we have entered the second phase of Operation Liberate Manbij. Our forces have advanced since that announcement, but have not yet entered the city center. Clashes with ISIS gangs have intensified at the entrance of the city and around the road to Aleppo. Therefore, it is not true that we have entered the city.
You said that clashes have intensified around Manbij. What are the conditions of civilians in the city?
ISIS gangs are completely encircled and it is impossible for them to escape. For this reason, the gangs prevent the civilians from leaving Manbij and use them as human shields, which slows down our advance. As we had previously stated, Manbij Military Council acts carefully and avoids any action that would bring harm to civilians. The safety of civilians is paramount to us, and we estimate that nearly 20 thousand civilians are at the hands of ISIS in Manbij. We are looking into how we can liberate these civilians from ISIS gans, I can say that our priority is rescuing civilians from ISIS.
I would also like to add that we have liberated thousands of people from ISIS, and hundreds of civilians reach liberated areas after escaping ISIS cruelty every day.
What I understand from your statements is that the initiative slowed down because of the civilians held hostage by ISIS gangs. So the condition of the civilians slows down the operation. How do you plan to overcome this problem?
Yes, the condition of civilians slows us down but we will not give up on our humanitarian values because of this. We take the safety of civilians as our basis because of our commitment to international laws and most importantly, to the values of humanity. Our forces continue to advance albeit slowly, and are planning to open a corridor in order to save civilians from ISIS gangs. For this, we plan to take control of several areas and houses.
You said that you have experienced some delay because of the civilians in the city. When do you think your forces will enter the city?
I cannot say when exactly we will enter the city, but as I said our forces are fighting ISIS gangs in the houses around the city center. These clashes could spread as the fighting intensifies. Our forces have liberated all of the villages around Manbij from ISIS gangs.
What can you say about the conditions surrounding ISIS gangs in the city?
ISIS gangs have been in panic since we besieged Manbij, and some of their Emirs even sent us letters offering 10 thousand USD in exchange for a safe exit from the city. It is impossible for ISIS gangs to escape, and the gangs will either surrender of be annihilated.