US Sets Up Military Base in Syrian Manbij to ‘Defend It From Turkish Attack’
The fall of al Bab, more a “change of flags” exercise, with pro-Turkish ISIS withdrawing on Turkish Army trucks, than a military operation, has serious consequences to the United States. Erdogan has announced he is going to take Manbij, the Kurdish capital of the Kurdish Autonomous Region of Syria and headquarters of America’s military efforts in Syria.
Turkey has already begin moving their Army in to replace the criminals and malcontents they have been using from time to time, the “Free Syrian Army” in its 3rd and saddest rebirth.
Now the confrontation is coming, Turkey is taking on the US directly and there is no evidence that Trump and his “assignees,” General Votel who visited the region last week, and General Mattis, have a grip on the situation. It will be impossible to fight ISIS without fighting Israel and Turkey, without shutting down Saudi Arabia’s efforts as well and without recognising that America’s allies are also allies of Russia and Syria.
It is also time for Russia to officially announce that the partnership with Turkey is at an end, threats from Moscow to Ankara “backchannel” yesterday were quite pointed, direct military action from Russia to shut them down.
With relations between Washington and Moscow at a low ebb, worse than with Obama and Trump’s attempt to put sanctions on Syria, it is becoming clear that the US, if it is to continue in Syria, will do so as a surrogate of Israeli policy with Erdogan, betraying the Turks, turning on Russia, turning on Iraq and head back to where things were under Bush 2.
America is back on the same road it was, seeking a war with Iran.
Sputnik/Moscow: A high-ranking representative of the Syrian Democratic Forces, who wished not to disclose his name, has told Sputnik Turkiye that the US is “taking all necessary measures” to defend the Syrian city of Manbij from an attack by the Turkish military. It has set up a military base in the city and hung up its flag as a “warning sign” to Ankara.
The US is “taking all necessary measures” to defend the Syrian city of Manbij in the Aleppo Governorate, 30 kilometers west of the Euphrates, which is currently under control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), from an attack by the Turkish Armed Forces and fighters from the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the SDF representative told Sputnik Turkiye.
In particular, he said, US servicemen have set up a military base in the city and are sending an additional contingent there. They are also deploying heavy weaponry and armored vehicles to the area.
Alongside setting up the military base in Manbij, the US is deploying servicemen and armaments to the northern and western parts of the city.
“Turkey and the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) are getting ready for an attack on Manbij, and so we are getting ready to defend the city and are in constant talks with our ally, the US,” the SDF representative told Sputnik.
He further explained that last week they had a meeting with Joseph Votel, the commander of the US Central Command (USCENTCOM), during which they discussed a security threat to Manbij coming from Turkey.
“In his turn, Votel assured us that the American side will take all necessary measures to prevent an attack by Turkish forces on the city,” he added.
The SDF representative further noted that US servicemen will be holding talks with representatives from Turkey and added that the US intends to increase its contingent in Manbij, sending heavy weaponry and tanks there in order to shore up the city’s defenses.
Just two days after their meeting with Votel, the US set up a military base in the city to be able to defend it from an attack by Turkish armed forces. The US flag was flown above the base.
Flying the flag, he said, is a message, a warning to Turkey that the city is under the defense of the US.
The US servicemen will also take part in round-the-clock surveillance and patrols in the west and the north of the city to be able to prevent any possible attack.In addition, he said, armored vehicles under the US flag have been deployed in the north of the city. US servicemen have been also deployed to its western areas. On Tuesday they sent more tanks and armored vehicles to Manbij and promised that the city will also be under the defense of the US-led coalition forces.
Turkish military move against the Kurdish forces in the Syrian city of Manbij could interfere with the US-led coalition campaign against the Daesh terror group (banned in Russia), US Central Command head Gen. Joseph Votel said on Tuesday.
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the country’s armed forces would advance toward Manbij after completing operation in al-Bab.
The move could “have an impact on the coalition campaign plan,” Votel said in an interview with Foreign Policy.
The commander noted that the United States is “fully engaged” with Turkey and is trying to work out a solution for northern Syria to make sure that US-backed and Turkish forces do not fight each other.
Safe Zones in Syria ‘Viable Concept’ in Secured Areas
Safe zones in Syria could operate successfully in the areas that have already been taken under control, Votel said.
The idea of creating safe zones in Syria is “a viable concept,” Votel said as quoted by Foreign Policy.
The commander noted that the safe zones could operate successfully in “areas that have already been secured where we already have humanitarian and stabilization activities ongoing.”Votel underscored, however, that creation of safe zones would not be easy, according to the magazine.
The US general explained that it would demand “all of the resources” in place, including ground troops which would be used to hold the area.
On February 16, Syrian National Council Co-chair Ilham Ehmed said in an interview with Firat News Agency that the safe zones proposed by the Trump administration would be created in areas under control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Turkish chief presidential adviser Ilnur Cevik told Sputnik on Tuesday that Ankara would be against the creation of safe zones in Kurdish areas in Syria because they might be used by Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), considered a terrorist organization in Turkey.
The US Department of Defense has sent civil affairs teams to Syria to assess humanitarian situation in the country, Votel said.
US military teams are assessing the needs on the humanitarian front, but a “broader international effort” is needed to resolve the problem, he added.
Tensions between Ankara and the Kurds escalated in July 2015 when a ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) collapsed because of a series of terror attacks allegedly committed by PKK members.
On August 24, the Turkish army launched Operation Euphrates Shield against militants of the Daesh group, which is outlawed in Russia and many other countries. Since then the Turkish-led forces have driven Daesh from a number of settlements in northern Syria. The Turkish forces, with assistance from Syrian opposition fighters, occupied the city of Jarablus in northern Syria.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the aim of the operation is to clear the territory of 5,000 square kilometers (1,930 square miles) in Syria as part of the operation and create a safe zone for refugees.
The operation has been widely criticized both by the Syrian Kurds and Damascus, who have accused Ankara of violating Syria’s territorial integrity.
Syria’s six-year civil war has displaced around 10 million people, according to the United Nations. Approximately 6 million of them are internally displaced. Some 13 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in the country.
Kurdish forces are determined to protect Manbij against Turkish military and Ankara-backed rebels if they try to retake the strategically important Syrian city located in the Aleppo province, Ilham Ehmed, co-leader of the Syrian Democratic Council and a senior member of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), told Sputnik Turkey.
“The military council and locals will mount fierce resistance if Manbij is attacked,” she said.
Ilham Ehmed’s comments came in response to Turkish authorities reaffirming their plans to advance on Manbij once the operation to free Daesh-held al-Bab is complete.Manbij was under Daesh’s control since January 2014. In August 2016, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) pushed the brutal group out of the city following a two-month-long offensive. The SDF then established the Manbij Military Council to provide security to and administer the embattled city.
“Turkey has chosen the administration created in northern Syria as a direct target for its attacks. Turkey has openly stated that it is determined to launch an attack on the territory controlled by Kurdish forces. … Turkey has said that it plans to capture Manbij and Afrin after al-Bab,” she noted. Ankara has said that its Operation Euphrates Shield is primarily aimed at fighting Daesh, “however, there are no Daesh fighters in Manbij,” she pointed out.
Ankara launched Operation Euphrates Shield on August 24 to push Daesh out of cities and settlements located on Syria’s border with Turkey. The military intervention has also been aimed at preventing Kurdish forces from moving further west and linking areas they control into a single border region.
In early January, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that Ankara will not stop its campaign “until we clear Manbij, al-Bab and other regions from terror.” Turkish authorities maintain that the PYD, a leading Kurdish political party in northern Syria, and its armed wing, known as People’s Protection Units (YPG), are affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Ankara maintains that the PKK is a terrorist organization. As a result, it has viewed any success that Syrian Kurds might achieve as fuelling unrest in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeastern provinces. For its part, Washington has relied extensively on the Kurds in its anti-Daesh efforts, much to Turkey’s discontent.Erdogan reiterated that Anakra views Manbij and Raqqa as the next goals of Operation Euphrates Shield on Monday.
Ilham Ehmed suggested that Turkey is not interested in bringing peace and stability to Syria.
“Ankara is trying to take Syria under control by seizing Manbij and other regions. This lies at the heart of its intervention and combat operations in Syria,” she said.