Managing Manbij: top military brass meet in Turkey
- Author: Leroy Wright Mar 10, 2017,
Mar 10, 2017, 14:22
Turkey said its next target after al-Bab will be Manbij to push the YPG forces to the east of the Euphrates River, but Russian Federation forced the Syrian Kurds to hand over the control of the region to the Syrian government.
However, Washington has still not divulged a clear policy on Syria.
At the same time, Russian Federation and Turkey coordinated their operations against the Islamic State group in Syria. "The U.S. side made some promises for this before and we believe that they will provide this support".
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said his country seeks a "trilateral mechanism" to clear the area of "terrorist groups". The Times of London illustrates its coverage of US and Russian troops in Manbij, Syria, with that very image, noting that this is the closest cooperation on the battlefield between Moscow and Washington since World War II.
The Manbij Military Council, part of the Kurdish-Arab SDF, first announced the handover last week, marking the first time that US-supported fighters had proposed ceding territory to regime forces.
Ankara is particularly concerned about the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia which it regards as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has fought a three-decade insurgency inside Turkey.
Others see the upcoming Raqqa operation as a critical test. "Turkey is a vital partner in this effort here".
Turkey blames the coup on followers of exiled Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, saying he used a network of schools and businesses to infiltrate government institutions. The head of Turkey's Housing Development Administration said more than half of the 511-kilometer concrete wall has been built.
It was "as if they were mocking us", Yildirim said of the Obama administration's response to the extradition request previous year.
US military leaders have given their recommendations on the fight against ISIS to the White House. This includes Iranian-backed pro-government militias.
Oh, and there are Russian, U.S., Syrian and Turkish jets flying around throughout all of this. But President Trump has an opportunity to turn things around in Turkey's view. The YPG is not designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S., Dorrian noted.
US-backed rebels from the SDF agreed to hand over several positions to the Syrian regime recently as part of a deal to avoid a direct conflict with Turkish-backed rebels. The agreement was reached between the US and Russia after Syria allowed the Russians to establish an air base on its Western coastline to launch airstrikes against opposition forces in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
The new administration has yet to send any concrete signals that it intends to extradite Gulen back to Turkey.
The normalization process was tested over the assassination of Russian Ambassador to Ankara Andrey Karlov in an armed attack last December.
The White House is yet to make its ultimate decision on the Raqqa operation but all the signs suggest, including recently exposed US artillery and aircraft deployment to Syria, that it will pursue an option including the YPG forces. By the end of July, Erdogan agreed to travel to Moscow.
"Very sound coordination is needed to free Syria of all terrorist groups".
And as a Turkish official admitted to Reuters, the United States is committed to conducting Raqqa with the SDF, not Turkey. Control of the town would allow Turkey and its proxies to deliver on their offers to take Raqqa, instead of the SDF.