As US Exits, Syrian Army Raises Flag Over Kurdish Province For 1st Time Since War's Start
28 December, 2018
update: The Pentagon says US forces are still in the area of Manbij city:
Currently, the Syrian Army has deployed around the city saying it stands ready to protect it from nearby pro-Turkish forces. This as the Syrian Arab Army announced it "raised the flag of the Syrian Arab Republic there" as confirmed by Russian television footage from on the ground.
The YPG has announced its withdrawal to locations east of the Euphrates and a steady peace is holding while a massive Turkish force is mustered.
Syrian pro-government channels indeed showed the national flag raised over municipal buildings in Manbij early Friday.
In conjunction with this, we invite the Syrian government forces which are obliged to protect the same country, nation and borders, to assert control over the areas our forces have withdrawn from, in particularly Manbij, and to protect these areas against a Turkish invasion.
“In the current situation, we are still supporting the integrity of Syrian soil. These areas belong to Syria. Once the terrorist organizations leave the area, we will have nothing left to do there,” Erdogan told reporters after Friday prayers in Istanbul.
It appears that once President Trump announced a "full" and "immediate" pullout of the some 2,000-4000 US forces in northern Syria last week, Turkey, Russia, the YPG, and Damascus quickly began deal-making with the Kurds being dealt the weakest hand by the surprise US pullout. Prior to this week, there were two American military bases in Manbij: at Aoun Dadat and S'aydiyeh.
Russia coordinated with Turkey for the control of the Syrian army over Manbij. The Syrian troops raised the Russian and Syrian flags over some area of the city following the absence of all Kurdish armed presence (important) in Manbij. The case is closed. East of the Euphrates next.
Syrian Army Liberates Manbij While Turkish Army Lays in Wait miles away
28 December, 2018
The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) reclaimed the city of Manbij and raised the Syrian Flag over buildings in that area to signify it is once again Syrian government territory.
The video below shows elements of the SAA arriving in Manbij:
Kurds who live in and around Manbij are now the target of the Turkish Government, who calls them "offshoots of Terrorism." Turkey has, since Christmas Day, been sending troops and armor to "cleanse all kurds" from the region.
While the SAA firmly states they are now in control of Manbij, columns of troops and armor from Turkey are massing less than five miles away, as seen below:
More Turk troops and gear are presently crossing into Syria from Turkey at Jarablus as shown below:
Intel is sparse right now as to the intentions of the Turks. Russia explicitly told Turkey to stay out of Syria and to allow the SAA to takeover all areas abandoned by the departing Americans, but Turkey is not doing that.
It is not certain if Turkey will try to make good on its declared intent to cleanse the region of Kurds. If Turkey begins such an effort, there are all sorts of things that can go wrong - not the least of which would be a direct confrontation with the SAA, which is backed-up by Russia.
Things are very much "on-edge" in this area right now, and few people have any idea how things will turn out.
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov made a candid remark about all this and the U.S. withdrawal from Syria: “It might be an attempt to shift responsibility to the US regional partners... We also expect WH to explain us the idea [of the w/drawal]. We are waiting for US actions after their words. Quite often they don’t do what they say.”