66,000 displaced from Syria’s al-Bab, many flee to Manbij: UN

Syrian refugees on the border to Turkey (© Ulas Yunus Tosun).

An estimated 66,000 people have fled clashes around the al-Bab area in northern Syria during recent weeks, with many fleeing to Manbij, according to UN’s humanitarian agency (OCHA).

OCHA estimated that 40,000 of the refugees came from al-Bab and nearby Tadef town, fleeing clashes between the Turkish-led Euphrates Shield forces and Islamic State (IS) group.

According to the same agency, another 26,000 fled clashes between government forces and IS around the villages east of al-Bab.

Many fled to the relatively safe city of Manbij and the areas nearby, controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which has received many refugees since IS was pushed out from the city in August 2016. Long queues of families awaiting control at the check-points leading to the town were reported by an AFP correspondent.

Last year, the United Nations estimated that more than 6 million were internally displaced within Syria, and over 4,8 million were refugees outside of the country.