The regime of Bashar Assad on Friday said its forces entered the flash-point town of Manbij in northern Syria.
Raising the Syrian flag over Manbij, the Assad regime army said it "guarantees full security for all Syrian citizens and others present" in the town, which previously was home to a U.S. military base.
The announcement came moments after the People's Protection Units (YPG) terror group called on regime to take control of Manbij as the countdown for Turkey's crossborder counterrorism operation was underway. The group, which Turkey regards as the Syrian branch of the PKK terrorist group, said its fighters had previously withdrawn from Manbij to fight Daesh in eastern Syria.
In a statement shared on Twitter, the YPG said it invited the Syrian regime "to send its armed forces to take over these positions and protect Manbij in the face of Turkish threats."
However, the group deleted the tweet sent around 8 a.m. but later in the day reposted the same statement.
The Kremlin welcomed the regime's entry into Manbij as spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Friday described the development as a "positive step" that could help "stabilize the situation."
On Wednesday, Washington announced it would be withdrawing all of its troops from Syria, following a conversation between Erdoğan and U.S. President Donald Trump over an imminent Turkish cross-border operation to eliminate the YPG. Following Trump's move, Erdoğan said Friday that Turkey had decided to postpone its cross-border operation into areas controlled by the YPG in eastern Syria for some time.
So far, Turkey has carried out two successful operations, Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch, against the Daesh and YPG terrorist groups in the northern Syrian towns of Jarablus, al-Rai, Dabiq, al-Bab and Afrin. The third operation is expected to target locations east of the Euphrates River as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced recently.