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'Huge problems' loom for tens of thousands fleeing Syria's Manbij

As IS is pushed from northern Syrian city, MEE contributor Wladimir Van Wilgenburg says a humanitarian crisis could be on the horizon
Syrian families who fled Manbij arrive in a camp about 20km away in June (AFP)

As US-backed Kurdish and Arab fighters advance into Manbij, a key Islamic State-held town in northeast Syria, fierce fighting has broken out, sending civilians fleeing.

MEE contributor Wladimir Van Wilgenburg, currently based in Qamishli at the Syria-Turkey border, has been following the nearly six-week offensive, which aims to cut off a vital IS supply route.

"There are lots of casualties on both sides. IS is really fighting back very heavily. That's why this battle is so difficult," he said on Friday.

As fighting continues, Van Wilgenburg said Syrian Kurds, who receive military but not humanitarian support from Western governments, may struggle to help the displaced residents with camps already in very bad conditions, without enough food or water.

He told MEE News Editor Simona Sikimic about what may unfold: