Syrian Democratic Force appeals for assistance in Raqqa battle

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U.S.-backed forces waging an offensive against the Islamic State-held city of Manbij in northern Syria appealed for international assistance for those fleeing the fighting on Tuesday as the forces tightened their encirclement of the city.

The SDF push comes at the same time as other enemies of Islamic State, including the governments of Syria and Iraq, also launched major offensives on other fronts, in what amounts to the most sustained pressure on the militants since they proclaimed their caliphate in 2014.

The Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance launched the advance two weeks ago to seize Islamic State’s last territory on the Syria-Turkey border and cut the self-declared caliphate off from the world.

“In the areas we control we have tried to take care of the needs of the internally displaced persons. But we are not able to cover their needs,” Sharfan Darwish of the SDF-allied Manbij Military Council told Reuters in Beirut by telephone.

“The international community must turn their attention to the people which have been liberated from Daesh (Islamic State),” he said, adding that there were no international humanitarian organizations working in the area.

Darwish said the Manbij civil council was bringing supplies from the northern, Syrian YPG militia-controlled city of Kobani to displaced persons, but this was not enough.

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