US-backed forces drive into Islamic State-held city

US-backed fighters advanced further into the Islamic State-held city of Manbij in Syria on Thursday, as part of a campaign to drive the group from areas near the Turkish border, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
The latest advance brought them to within 1 km from the city center and put them in control of its southwestern neighborhoods, the British-based monitoring group said.
The Syria Democratic Forces, a US-backed alliance that includes Arab and Kurdish fighting groups, has for more than a month pressed the offensive to drive IS from Manbij, backed by US-led air strikes.
Islamic State fighters have put up tough resistance and have staged a number of counter-attacks since the SDF encircled the city and cut off their supply lines.
The offensive would deprive IS of its only major route to the outside world.
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