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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

US-backed Forces Seize Nine Villages in Syria

by VOA News June 01, 2016

U.S.-backed forces have taken control of nine villages near the Turkish border in Syria since Tuesday in an advance toward the Islamic State-controlled town of Manbij.

The U.S. has also carried out airstrikes on Manbij in the last 24 hours which have killed 15 civilians, three of which were children, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Syrian Democratic forces (SDF), a Kurdish-led alliance working alongside over 200 American special forces troops, have moved into the jihadist pocket of territory on either side of the Euphrates river, angering Sunni Arab rebels as well as the Turkish who fear the Kurds are trying to establish their own state along the border.

But the area has long been a target for Washington, which it sees as a key entry point for foreign fighters.

This offensive marks the second of its kind in recent weeks after the SDF, last month, seized dozens of villages north of Raqa, the Islamic State's de facto capital in Syria.

Meanwhile Wednesday, the first humanitarian aid convoy since 2012 has entered the rebel-held Syrian town of Daraya.

Russia said that a local truce would be observed for 48 hours in Daraya to ensure that aid could be delivered safely.

An estimated 8,000 people live in the town, located southwest of the capital, Damascus.

Some material for this report came from AP and AFP.

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