US setting up two bases in Manbij, northern Syria

TRT World — March 3, 2018

Local sources in Manbij tell Anadolu Agency that construction materials and heavy equipment have already been transported to one of the planned bases.

The US is setting up two bases in Syria’s northern Manbij region, currently occupied by YPG/PKK terrorists, Anadolu Agency learned on Tuesday.

The US is extending an observation post in Dadat village, northern Manbij, in order to build a base, according to information Anadolu Agency says it has received from trustworthy local sources in Manbij.

Construction materials and heavy equipment have already been transported to the southeast of the village.

The base will be located eight kilometres (4.9 miles) from Sajur River, which forms the frontline between Jarablus and Manbij.

The other base is being built four km (2.4 mi) from the frontline, south of Dadat.

US-backed groups are staying in a farm named “Nuaymiyah” and are engaged in constructing and planning of the base.

When completed, this will be the closest US base to the Euphrates Shield forces, which liberated parts of northern Syria during an operation led by Turkey from August 2016 to March 2017.

Reinforcements deployed

On Sunday, the US deployed military reinforcements to northern Manbij. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly warned of an operation to remove the YPG/PKK militants from the region.

Approximately 300 US soldiers arrived in Manbij in a convoy, which included many armoured vehicles and construction machinery.

The additional troops have started patrolling Sajur River shore daily. Previously, the patrols occurred weekly.

Currently, there are three US observation posts in the opposition-held region that borders the areas liberated during Operation Euphrates Shield.

Manbij district of Aleppo province was invaded by YPG/PKK terror group in August 2016 with US support.

Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on January 20 to clear terrorist groups from Afrin, northwestern Syria, amid growing threats from the region.

Liberated

On March 18, Turkish-backed troops liberated the town of Afrin, a major hideout for the terrorist organisation YPG/PKK since 2012.

Ankara said it might also extend its operation further east to Manbij unless the YPG/PKK terrorist group leaves the strategically located city.

However, US military support for the terrorist YPG/PKK group in Manbij has strained ties between Ankara and Washington and has led to fears of potential clashes on the ground between troops of the two NATO allies. There are roughly 2,000 US troops in the city.

Turkey and the US have established working groups to discuss the stabilisation of Manbij and to prevent any undesirable clashes.

But due to the abrupt departure of former US secretary of state Rex Tillerson, who helped establish the working groups, the future of Manbij remains uncertain.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is mainly composed of the YPG – the Syrian branch of the PKK – which has waged an armed campaign against Turkey for more than 3 decades, resulting in the killing of over 40,000 people.

The PKK is recognised by Turkey, France and the EU as a terrorist group. 

But the United States, as well as France, have worked closely with YPG militants in the fight against Daesh in Syria, much to Ankara’s anger.

The PKK has fought a 33-year war against Turkey that has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths, including women and children.

The Anadolu Agency did not report whether the US had commented on the bases.

Source

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