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US eyes counterterrorism win in fresh Syria assault

A Syrian man walks past a minaret in November 2014 destroyed following alleged air strikes by Syrian government forces in the Syrian city of Raqa, controlled by the Islamic State groupA top US presidential advisor said Friday a fresh Syria assault would shut down an important transit route linking the Islamic State group’s “capital” in Raqa with the heart of Europe. As Syrian opposition forces encircled Manbij, Obama’s anti-Islamic State envoy Brett McGurk painted the town near the Turkish border as an important terror transit point. Thousands of residents have fled Manbij — held by IS since 2014 — but jihadists who evacuated their families stayed to defend the town, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group.

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