Syria’s army stated Friday it had entered the northeastern city of Manbij for the first time in years after a Kurdish militia contacted Syrian forces to safeguard the location from the hazard of a Turkish military incursion.
Syria’s military command announced its forces had actually raised the Syrian flag in the city following what is referred to as an appeal by individuals in the area.
The statement, which was read out on Syrian state tv, stressed the value of “securing national sovereignty” and declared the armed force’s “determination to squash terrorism and defeat all invaders and occupiers.”
It came minutes after the People’s Protection Units (YPG) released a statement urging President Bashar al-Assad’s forces to retake control of the locations they had withdrawn from, in an effort to safeguard them versus what the group referred to as a “Turkish invasion.”
The YPG is the foundation of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Kurdish-led fighting force that was America’s primary partner on the ground in the battle against ISIS.
The National Army, the biggest opposition group in Syria, called the announcement by Syria’s military command “propaganda,” saying regime forces were 16 km from Manbij. Spokesperson Yousef Hamoud informed CNN that United States forces still controlled the city.
Recently, President Donald Trump amazed foreign allies by announcing the rapid withdrawal of US soldiers from Syria, stating that the war against ISIS had been won.
US Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned in a dispute over Trump’s Syria decision, which could leave the Syrian Kurds at threat from both ISIS and Turkey.
Turkey, a NATO member, thinks about the Syrian Kurds a terrorist group connected to a Kurdish revolt inside its country. Clashes between the Turkish military and the SDF have intermittently pestered and delayed the last operations against ISIS.
The YPG stated Friday that it would be “focusing on the battle against ISIS on all fronts in the east of the Euphrates” following its withdrawal from Manbij.
While the YPG had some little skirmishes with Syrian government forces early on in the war, they allowed the Syrian military to preserve footholds in their areas of control.