SHAFAQNA | Nasibeh Yazdani : The Syrian army have entered the Kurdish-held town of Manbij in northern Syria for the first time in years on Friday, after the Kurdish YPG militia urged Damascus to protect the town from a threatened Turkish offensive.
Syrian state media circulated a video showing dozens of soldiers marching on a countryside road, chanting for President Bashar al-Assad. The military statement said troops had raised the national flag in Manbij on Friday and would guarantee security “for all Syrian citizens and others present.”
The YPG, which Turkey deems a security threat, said on Friday its fighters had withdrawn from Manbij before to fight Islamic State elsewhere.
“We invite the Syrian government, to which we belong, as people, land and borders, to send its armed forces to take over these positions and protect Manbij in the face of Turkish threats,” it said, Reuters reported.
The request amounted to a United States ally calling on an enemy of the United States to protect it from another American ally, Turkey.
It was also the first sign that President Trump’s abrupt announcement last week that he was withdrawing American troops from Syria was not only shifting alliances in the conflict but directly benefiting Syria’s Assad, nytimes told.
Some American officials were taken aback by the Kurdish announcement, voicing frustration and anger to their Kurdish counterparts, according to a senior American official. There was no consultation or coordination, the official said.
Manbij, where U.S. troops have a military base, is held by a local militia allied to the YPG which Turkey deems a security threat, has emerged as a focal point of new tensions after U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces whose presence has effectively deterred Turkey.
Turkey and its allied fighters has been threatening a military operation against Manbij in recent days .
Ankara has stepped up attacks on Kurdish-held posts in northern Syria throughout 2018, abc reported.
Turkey, Russia talks on Syria
Senior Russian and Turkish officials met in Moscow on Saturday to discuss the rapidly evolving situation on the ground in Syria after US President Donald Trump made the surprise announcement that US troops were withdrawing, CNN reported.
“An understanding was reached over how the military representatives of Russia and Turkey on the ground will continue to coordinate their steps under the new conditions with an aim toward the final eradication of the terrorist threat in Syria,” Lavrov said, according to state news agency RIA-Novosti.
Lavrov gave few specifics on any agreements that had been reached Saturday, but said Russian and Turkish officials had “paid special attention to the new circumstances that have arisen in connection with the US announcing the withdrawal of its military.”
Lavrov described the talks, which included top diplomatic, military and intelligence officials, as “very useful,” and said both countries affirmed the territorial integrity of Syria, state television channel Rossiya-24 and RIA-Novosti reported.
Read more from Shafaqna: