Macer Gifford with YPG flag / Macer Gifford FB Page
British People's Protection Units (YPG) volunteer Macer Gifford, who is on his second tour of Rojava, has sent a message about developments in Manbij, the strategic town being liberated from Islamic State (IS/ISIS) by Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Manbij Military Council (MMC) fighters.
In his message from the front line Gifford asks for urgent aid from Britain, Europe and America and calls for borders to be opened to Rojava.
Below we are publishing Mr Gifford's message, which he shared with his followers on Facebook on 2 August 2016.
"I hope this message gets out ok. Internet at the moment is a precious commodity!
I feel it's my duty to give more details on the situation on the ground in Manbij. As I'm sure you've all heard the SDF is doing remarkable things here. We are in a state of constant war, with us attacking at night and ISIS attacking in the day. Since I didn't fight in Kobane, I have never experienced warfare as vicious and as random as this. Just making your way 300 meters into the city you have to navigate rat holes though numerous buildings and across streets. These trips can only be made in darkness, due to the constant threat of snipers. Even dodging a sniper's bullet is dangerous as running into doorways or empty buildings in the dark could hide more than just an IED.
The front line isn't a straight one, YPG buildings are often surrounded and apartment buildings have become modern day castles. My first position in the city made me feel like I was under siege, ISIS were on 3 of the buildings 4 sides and they had an excellent view of the street we have to cross to get there. On one side of the building they were less than 10 meters away and the threat of grenades being thrown through your window was a constant concern.
Low food and water, mixed with the stench of those that have died amongst the rubble is a morale drainer. It's amazing to see SDF fighters coming off the front, to be given their first proper meal in weeks and then share that food with civilians leaving the city. There is a wonderful, 'we are in this together' feeling between the fighters and the civilians. It's amazing to see civilians flash the victory sign at us and shout their thanks. People literally weep with relief when they get out of the hands of ISIS and into the care of the SDF. This is despite no help coming from any major charity or country.
We have to get British, European and American aid here now! We need the borders to open to all traffic, both economical and charitable.
There is not a tabur (battalion) in Manbij that isn't fighting. The diverse peoples of Rojava will never give up and will never relent in the struggle to liberate Syria. ISIS are trapped like rats, the SDF noose is around their necks and I can feel their desperation as we squeeze it a bit tighter every night.
Manbij was a test case for both the SDF and ISIS. Although the fight continues, victory for the SDF Alliance is certain. The loss of this major city (twice the size of Kobane) proves that nowhere is safe for Daesh's (ISIS) murderous thugs.
As Churchill said to the Americans, 'Give us the tools and we'll finish the job', the West needs to back the SDF now!!!
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