On June 18, photo and video evidence appeared showing Turkish military vehicles and troops en route to the northern Syrian town of Manbij, which is currently controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Kurdish armed groups, described by Ankara as terrorists, are a core of the SDF.
Following reports on the issue, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan officially confirmed that the Turkish Armed Forces in cooperation with US troops had begun patrolling the area of Manbij.
“Erdogan’s remarks came during his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s election rally in the Black Sea province of Samsun.
Armored vehicles belonging to the Turkish army were stationed around Sajur river which runs through the town of Jarabulus, in the area where Operation Euphrates Shield took place, and Manbij,” Turkey’s Anadolu Agency wrote on the issue.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also commented on the development.
“[Turkish forces] have also started entering Manbij. The YPG [terrorists] will be repelled from Manbij,” Cavusoglu said. “We aim to repel YPG [terrorists] from all areas they control and to stabilize these areas.”
The foreign minister added that the final goal is to allow residents to rule in the area.
Meanwhile, the SDF’s Manbij Military Council (MMC) claimed that Turkish troops will not enter the town of Manbij itself. However, the MMC and the SDF have little influence on the situation as they had sold their independence to Washington, which already reached a deal on Manbij with Ankara. So, all will depend on the terms and conditions of this deal.