Military deployment in Manbij continues

UĞUR YILDIRIM
SYRIA
Published 25.12.2018 00:34
Updated 25.12.2018 08:00

Turkey has scaled up its military deployment near Manbij, Syria as part of the preparations for a pending cross-border operation on the city and the eastern region of the Euphrates River.

Yesterday a large number of military convoys consisting of armored vehicles and army personnel were heading to the border areas adjacent to northern Syria's al-Bab, Jarablus and Manbij.

Furthermore, special units who participated in the previous cross-border operations - Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch - were instructed to prepare for the possible offensive to eliminate the PKK's affiliates and Daesh terrorists from the area.

With the new deployments, the Turkish army and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have encircled Manbij. One of the aims of the operation would reportedly be to take over the Tishrin Dam in northern Syria.

In parallel with the Turkish army and FSA's mobility, the Bashar Assad regime also geared up deployment to the south of Manbij. Saif Abu Bakr, the Hamza division's military chief, told Daily Sabah that they have already completed their preparations and are waiting for the instruction of Ankara to start the offensive.

"We are waiting for orders from Turkey to liberate our brothers living in Manbij from this invasion [by the People's Protection Units (YPG)]," he said.

FSA fighters are preparing to be deployed in eastern Syria alongside Turkish troops once American forces withdraw, a spokesman said yesterday to The Associated Press, adding that his forces have begun massing on the front line of a town held by YPG.

Youssef Hammoud of the Turkey-backed Syrian opposition forces said their fighters and weapons have been deploying on the front line with Manbij, a Kurdish-administered town in northern Syria where U.S. troops are based.

Meanwhile, civilians living in Manbij said that the YPG increased its oppression of local people in territories under its control, limiting the movement of local people who want to leave the city ahead of a counterterrorism operation east of the Euphrates River.

Currently, the YPG controls approximately 25 percent of Syrian territory and nearly 65 percent of the 900-kilometer border with Turkey.

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