Published: Fri, December 28, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

Syrian Forces Trying to Run 'Psychological Operation' in Manbij - Erdogan

Syrian Forces Trying to Run 'Psychological Operation' in Manbij - Erdogan

Ankara sees the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party that has waged an insurgency in Turkey for decades, and has threatened to drive the militia from the areas along its border with Syria.

A senior Syrian Kurdish official says Syrian government troops have arrived at the front lines of the flash-point town of Manbij but have not taken over the city, and USA troops based outside it have not withdrawn.

The Syrian state broadcaster earlier reported that the Syrian Arab Army had entered Manbij and raised the flag of the Arab Republic after receiving a request from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) to take control of the city amid Turkey's envisaged offensive in the area.

President Donald Trump's decision to pull out some 2,000 United States troops, whose presence has deterred Turkey, has alarmed the SDF, which controls much of northern and eastern Syria.

Ilham Ahmed told Associated Press an agreement was being worked out with the Russians and the Syrian government that in case of a full USA withdrawal, government troops would take over.

They will be hoping that the presence of the Syrian government army - which is backed by Russian Federation and Iran - will deter Turkey from launching an attack.

Tensions in the region have risen in recent weeks, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to launch a new offensive against the Kurds.

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Ahmed said the Kurdish militiaremain inside the city.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said the troops had deployed only along the edges of Manbij, standing between the town and Turkey's rebel allies.

Turkey has been intensifying its military activity near positions held by Kurdish fighters since President Trump's withdrawal announcement on 19 December.

But President Trump announced earlier this month he was pulling USA troops out of Syria.

Troops entered the town for the first time in six years on Friday, a Syrian army spokesman said in a televised statement.

In the wake of news reports of regime troop movement, the Kremlin welcomed the return of Assad's forces to the area previously controlled by the YPG terror group. But sources from Manbij told TRT World the city is calm and that regime forces have not entered.

Peskov said the situation would be discussed Saturday during a visit to Moscow by the Turkish foreign affairs and defence ministers, to "clarify" the situation and "synchronise actions" between the two countries.

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