ISIS sets sights on Manbij, awaits response on truce
January 20, 2014
TRUCE OR TRAP? An Islamic State of Iraq and a-Sham (ISIS) convoy set out to confront opposition brigades in the northern Aleppo town of Manbij on Sunday, as shown in a video uploaded by Abu Yazn al-Halabi, an ISIS-affiliated activist.
“You cannot stand as long as ISIS stands,” says one fighter in the video, seated in the bed of a pickup truck. “We will set fire to you,” says another.
A number of civilians have been killed in Manbij in recent days—among them a child and a woman—and others injured by what opposition sources describe as indiscriminate shelling by the Syrian regime in the town’s southeastern quarter. The shelling coincides with clashes between opposition and ISIS fighters as ISIS attempts to seize control of the town, according to the pro-opposition Aleppo News Network.
Syrian state news agency SANA reported that ISIS was responsible for shelling the town.
The events in Manbij came the same day as ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi released a voice recording on jihadist websites calling for reconciliation between ISIS and the rebel groups waging a bloody campaign to evict the al-Qaeda affiliate from northern Syria.
Baghdadi urged rebel groups to come together with ISIS to fight against “the Nusayris and the rejectionists”—pejorative terms referring to President Assad’s minority Alawite sect—and affirmed that ISIS would cease battling rebel groups as soon as they did the same.