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Can US-backed offensive bring back residents to Syria's Manbij?

The citizens of Manbij, which is northeast of Aleppo, have high hopes of returning to their hometown in light of the US-backed offensive against the Islamic State in their city.

GAZIANTEP, Turkey — From Sanliurfa in southern Turkey, Amina Mesto follows closely the latest news from her hometown, the city of Manbij, about 50 miles to the northeast of Aleppo. Since early June, fierce clashes have flared up there between the Islamic State (IS) and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) backed by the US-led coalition that has placed the city under siege.

Amina, a Kurdish woman in her mid-40s, fled her hometown two years ago following IS' invasion. She told Al-Monitor that she knows nothing about the fate of the rest of her family, including her mother and older brother and his family, who preferred to stay in Manbij. She fears they will have a hard time fleeing from IS-controlled areas to the Turkish border.

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