Casualties reported after car-bomb strikes Manbij, northern Syria

A car bomb has exploded in the car park outside a building used by the military council that controls Manbij in northern Syria, local sources have reported.

Middle East Institute director Charles Lister quoted “locals on the ground” as saying helicopters of the International Coalition of Operation Inherent Resolve were seen flying over the city after the bomb attack.

Citing local sources, Turkish pro-government daily Hürriyet said the explosion had resulted in several deaths and injuries.

In January at least 10 people died when an Islamic State member detonated a suicide vest in a restaurant frequented by U.S. soldiers posted in Manbij.

Manbij has been a point of contention between Turkey and the United States thanks to the presence of U.S. troops alongside the predominantly Kurdish forces that recaptured the town from the Islamic State.

The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and its affiliate, the multi-ethnic Syrian Democratic Forces, became the dominant force in large areas of northern Syria after defeating the Islamic State, setting up councils to govern Manbij and other areas.

The U.S.-backed international coalition to defeat the Islamic State sees the Kurdish forces as valuable allies, but the Turkish government views them as a security threat due to their links to outlawed militant groups active in Turkey.