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US-backed forces advance in ISIL Syria stronghold

US-backed forces advance in ISIL Syria stronghold


US-backed Kurdish-led fighters say they now control nearly three quarters of a strategic city in northern Syria, that was an ISIL stronghold.

The battle for Manbij has been raging for two months.

It’s loss would be a huge blow to ISIL which has used the city as a transit point for foreign jihadists and provisions from the Turkish border.

Separately in Syria, a rescue service operating in rebel-held territory says containers of gas have been dropped from the skies onto the town of SarAqeb.

That is close to where a Russian military helicopter was shot down on Monday, killing all five people on board.

The Syria Civil Defence group said more than 30 people, mostly women and children, were affected by the gas, which they suspect was chlorine.

The opposition Syrian National Coalition has blamed President Assad.

The US State Department says if the reports are true if would be ‘extremely serious’.

More than 280,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government protests.

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