Military Situation in Northern Syria after Liberation of Manbij

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Military Situation in Northern Syria after Liberation of Manbij

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The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (a PR brand for Kurdish YPG units) fully liberated the strategic city of Manbij in northern Syria from the ISIS terrorist group. The main ISIS defenses were concentrated in few central parts of the city and, indeed, the “liberation” was the result of an agreement between the Kurds and ISIS.

Over 100 ISIS militants with arms and military equipment withrew from the city in the direction of Al Ghadurah. Pro-Kurdish sources reported that the group also took some 500 hostages. However, other sources reported that these 500 people decided to withraw from the city because they didn’t want to remain under the Democratic Union Party (political branch of the YPG) rule. If this is true, the Kurdish political leadership will face a major challenge, attempting to keep the control of the city.

Another problem is the resources spent to take control of Manbij. The ISIS garrison (about 1000 militants) were able to repel the US-backed attempts to seize the city about 2 month. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) consisted of Kurdish YPG units, some Arab units loyal to the US and the US Special Forces, supported by the US-led coalition air power. Nonetheless, the SDF lost from 600 to 1100 fighters during the storm of the city. In turn, the ISIS lost 300-500 fighters in the city and about 400 in anntempts to lif the siege from the outside directions. All these show that the US and its proxies on the ground have big problems in offensive operations on the ground, even in very favourable circumstances. In this case, it’s a big question how they will storm the city of Raqqa (a longstanding goal of the US-backed operations in Syria). It’s possible that Washignton is going to make another deal with ISIS in order to achieve own PR goals.

Military Situation in Northern Syria after Liberation of Manbij

Click to see the full-size map

Despite all problems of the SDF, Manbij was an important logistic hub that allowed the terrorist group to recieve reinforcements, arms and smuggle oil through the Syrian-Turkish border. Liberation of it was an important strategic move. Now, the Kurds will likely make an attempt to advance in the direction of Al Bab, another important city in northern Syria. Controlling it, the YPG will significantly expand its influence in northern Syria. The Erdogan regime will likely oppose this move, supporting the expansion of the so-called “modrate opposition” along the Syrian-Turkish border.

The problem is that the Obama administration does not need this. It needs to show that the US is a state that “defeated ISIS” and the control of Al Bab is not the goal that allows to do so.

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  • BofBof

    Why do you expect the YPG fighting for Raqqa ??? Obviously , they want to reach Afrin area , in order to unify Rojava territories. Kurds are not the mercenaries of USA.And , please give the names of your sources , concerning the 600 to 11 000 (????) killed YPG soldiers

    • Jens Holm

      They wont come far without air support and heavy artillery.

      If doing so its military and political madness of the wirst kind. Fine if Assads and Nusra-rebells stil have ISIS in their behind and has to defeat where next certeinly will be the Kurds.

      Kurds need time and having good defence lines. Thats not Al Bab and a rotating elderly friends of Muhammed in Al Bab. Was also known for not being named as the firs Khalif – Might be whispering from his grave: Too many Khalifs. . .

    • 11 000 (????) – it was a typo

  • Piet Saman

    Defenitly written by a Russia supporter with anti american motives.

    YPG did loose a large number of their fighters, a big part of the deathtoll is because of VBIEDS and IED’s , thats why the deathtoll is just as significant als the Daesh losses.
    Also they tried to spare the people of manbij and did nog use heavy weapons while in urban combat.
    A lot of people from manbij will join the SDF now so there total manpower and womanpower will not decrease that much.
    They still have the tacktical supriority over Daesh in the non urban battles so whey can sweep trough the smaller villages and hill quickly.

    I dont think that the SDF will change their attention to Raqqa that quickly
    Because of the Euphrates running through south alleppo is hard to beseige it.
    It will proberbly work out to be a combined effort with the SAA, they need the SAA pushing from the south to cut their southern supplyroutes.

    • Jgily

      So was there a huge death toll or not? I’m confused now after reading your comment.

      • Piet Saman

        Typo, should be 600-1100 probebly, the artikel is full of typing errors

        • Jens Holm

          yes – even zeroes can become of big importance.

        • Yes, thanks

      • Jens Holm

        Dont be confuced no need for stress. Take all numbers and things with filter but dont forget – often this is temporary for the moment facts and the best, You can get. New information makes it more accurate and new again make same thing.

        I agrre about You also have to take Turkish versions as anybody elses. They are cooking too and for the enemy as well – whenever they can.

        Now they dont like ISIS that much anymore – How comes ?

    • Pave Way IV

      “…A lot of people from manbij will join the SDF now so there total manpower and womanpower will not decrease that much…”

      Join? You make it sound voluntary. The PYD party press-gangs it’s subjects (Kurds and non-Kurds alike) into the YPG/YPJ with Asayish conscription raids.

      The YPG/YPJ started as an all-volunteer local militia defending their own towns and villages. The U.S. usurped PYD party has changed the YPG/YPJ into their own federalized army of conquest (supposedly for Kurdish causes). Kurds and non-Kurds alike are now being forced to join the YPG/YPJ and obey orders to travel to and take over whatever towns the PYD and their CIA handlers decide need taking. This is far different than the original defensive purpose of the YPG/YPJ militias.

      Many Kurds from Kobane or Qamishli might like the idea of a unified Kurdistan, but are completely unwilling to send their sons and daughters off to die to make that happen. Needless to say, the tens of thousands of Assyrians in Qamishli see little reason to send their sons and daughters to die for a unified Kurdish Rojava. Despite claims otherwise, the PYD does not represent non-Kurds – they are just its unfortunate subjects. Nobody voted for the PYD to run an artificial Rojava with non-Kurdish subjects.

      I would venture to guess that far more than 500 arabs have left their homes in Manbij permanently rather than endure occupation and rule by the PYD. The locals didn’t want ISIS to run the place, nor do they want to be ruled in the future by the PYD. The PYD talks a good game of freedom and equality, but it won’t be long before they are forcing the children of Arabs and Christians to be taught in Kurdish in school.

      • Piet Saman

        Looks like you spend a lot of time reading the turkish anti kurdish propaganda.

        • Pave Way IV

          That’s the opinion of Syrian Kurds, specifically Kurdish opposition to the PYD party. It took me a while to realize that nearly everything about the Syrian Kurds written in English comes from the PYD or their loyal (or paid) fanboys. Most western commentators have no idea how the PYD has evolved or that they don’t truly speak for all Syrian Kurds. They act as if they do because they have declared themselves the only allowed political party and de facto rulers of Rojava. Does that sound anything like democracy to you?

          I support the causes and the will of the average Syrian Kurd ‘little people’ like farmers and laborers. The opinions of the powerful, corrupt PYD party and the bribed officials that run it (mostly from London, not Syria) are of little interest to me. Simply calling out the PYD for not truly representing the will of the average Kurd will instantly bring out accusations that I’m somehow anti-Kurd. I’m anything but that. I just distinguish ‘the Kurds’ from their self-declared PYD overlords. Don’t worry if you don’t quite understand. It will all become perfectly clear in five years or so if the PYD lasts that long.

      • Jens Holm

        As long as some kurds inisist to behave like tribes, they will nor be strong enough and will be diveded and defeated. Therefore its very important You get common institusions for important thins as defending the territory.

        Many people has seen, that keeping low and wait and things will disapear is not true like ISIS comming in many times killed all unarmed, because their is no civil armed self defence or at least small police units with rifles. Think some of them understand.

        In Your comment You dont mention KDP making the alliance taking Manbij City and surroundings. Of course the 500 or somethimng left. Otherwise they would be killed by treating the rest and 1000`s refuges bad or being jailing in 100 years.

        You also dont mention kurds and yasidies are in a alliance agreement. You also dont mention, that YPK/PKK is a bog one – but by democratgic election there can be made better decissions then they sometimes have and do.

        You think the will be ruled by the Assads again. You think they would like to be ruled by Shiits from Bagdad. You think they will being ruled by some – more peacefull – Nusra Khalifat.

        Dont make it darker than it already is.

        • Pave Way IV

          “…As long as some kurds inisist to behave like tribes, they will nor be strong enough and will be diveded and defeated…”

          If some Kurds want to behave like tribes, then I support them 100%. I have no moral or legal right to force them into an artificially created Syrian Kurdish alliance if they have no desire for one. I agree that if the only consideration was increasing Kurdish power and military might, then a forced federalized Kurdistan makes sense. But I am not so naive to believe a Kurd family tending their orchard outside of Kobane is obsessed with the same extreme power-grabbing desires of the PYD or is interested in dying for some corrupt statists dream. Everyone seems to know what’s best for the Kurds, but nobody ever bothers to ask them or let them vote on it.

          “…In Your comment You dont mention KDP making the alliance taking Manbij City and surroundings….”

          The KDP is Barzani’s mafia/political party in Iraq. They had some small presence in Syria before the PYD banned them. The SDF alliance was created by orders from the U.S. military because it would never have happened under the PYD. The PYD is happy to claim ownership of Manbij for their version of Rojava territory, but they never asked the residents of Manbij. The simple logic was, “Well, we’re better than ISIS so we own and control Manbij as part of Rojava now.” The Arab residents (majority) of Manbij will never be allowed to vote if they want to be part of Rojava or if they want to be ruled by the PYD. The PYD already decided FOR them.

          “…You also dont mention kurds and yasidies are in a alliance agreement…”

          Barzani and the KDP intentionally let the Yazidis get slaughtered in Sinjar, Iraq because he needed their land for oil/gas pipelines. The Sinjar Yazidis didn’t want to be part of any Iraqi Kurdistan – they wanted their own independence from everyone including the Kurds. Since they wouldn’t recognize the KDP as their masters and obey KDP orders, Barzani had them killed. Barzani and the U.S. intentionally steered ISIS to an undefended Sinjar to slaughter the disobedient Yazidis and eliminate any opposition to KDP rule and allow the KDP to claim all Yazidi land for the KDP’s Kurdistan. The fact that the surviving Yazidis had to form an alliance with the KDP to get rid of ISIS after their slaughter is a travesty of justice. I didn’t mention it because it has nothing to do with the Syrian Kurds.

          “…You also dont mention, that YPK/PKK is a bog one…”

          Sorry – I don’t understand what you wrote. Did you mean the YPG/PKK alliance is a big one? Or are you referring to the YPK Brigade that joined the SDF alliance?

          “…You think the will be ruled by the Assads again. You think they would like to be ruled by Shiits from Bagdad. You think they will being ruled by some – more peacefull – Nusra Khalifat…”

          Nobody cares what I think. It should be up to the Kurds to decide. They are not allowed to make that decision because the PDK has already declared that they will rule Rojava no matter what the Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians, Yazidi or anyone else who lives there thinks. Substituting a fascist PYD rule for Assad’s rule does not make the Kurds free. It only gives them a new master to serve.

          • Jens Holm

            Thats why You are diveded as You are. You are more than 20 million kurds and cant even agree its better to be more united than arresting and killing leaders of Your own.

            Big referred to YPK/PKK being military active in Turkey.

            Yes, Yes every thing is already decided, faith, obey. Thats my point too. Let someone ask kurds what they really want. Thats normal procedure in many countries as well as regional diveded. USA is like that instead of 51 states.

            How many tribes do the Kurds have.

            Norweigians , spain, Greek, german, russian, jew, afro-american, puerto rician, mexican, japanese, chinese, hindu . Kurds are more diffrent than that.

            Not everybody says Assad is comming back.

  • Gryphonne

    Another shitty article with numbers pulled from someone’s ass. Must be written by a conspiracy theorist; quality of news on this site is becoming laughable :D

  • Steve Willer

    If you use Chuck Pfarrer maps, then give him credit in the text of the article. Its simple, Map courtesy of Chuck Pfarrer, @ChuckPfarrer.
    And where did you get the number of SDF killed? Site a source, or explain how you got those numbers.
    Try using spell check, it makes your already shitty articles look even worse.

  • Jens Holm

    Of course (500) IS supporters dont want to live among the majority, which they have terrorised for more than 2 Years. Walking free they might be killed for their dirty doings – or low standard jail many years in stead.

    Manbij was a mixed city before ISIS being build there and supported – and well kept by the Major a.s.o.

    You forget SDF/YPK kept their line all the way to the rest of the ISIS – and its nort broken. You have to have many well doing defenders for that line very slowly expanding to.

    Manbij was heavely fortified. They had a lot of time for preparing that defence and when the Kurdish attack was comming it was filled up with many 1000 leftovers citycens as well as many, many thousends of refugees from big areas in the nighborhoods.

    You cant just bomb that away mostly killing ISIS.

    And You cant just say 1000. Its 1000 + support. Al American alliance bombs are smart bombs meaning used at very well specific pointed defences helped by selective targets and fx lazer for the boms/rochest.

    More like taking apendixes out than being a russian or SAA cannibal.

    In defence lines determint or selctive very good infantery the defenders will always kill more enemies. They are protected, know all teritry much bettter and all the soldiers are upgraded by “bunkers” mines, fences a..s.o.

    The only way to avoid i knock everything down or starvation.

    Might be Your figures are right. I hope, I like facts.

    But look at Aleppo how difficult it is. Assads using heavy artillery, many good tanks and airstrikes day and night to help own heavy armed infanery taking the “door” in Aleppo. It very diffucult just to flush determinat infantery away if they have or make defence lines in urban areas as well as in mountains and forrest.

  • Jens Holm

    I certainly hope all talk about Al bab will dissapeer. Its a 100% enemy tradionel arab city and is/are mainsupporters for supoorting ISIS. Even no Kurds around it. None. Madnes to try to connect to Afrin or Aleoppo kurds, which are different types of Kurds and of a more trying to be neutral kind.

    They will meet ISIS first. If ISIS use all their troops and loose, Kurds will have no first class soldier ledt. Assads will then have no enemies to bind his troops and will come with everything hed has. The other version is Rebells-Nusra -or even BOTH OF THEM.

    If I could vote – I have written it before – Kurds from Jarablus to Sulaimaniah should use expesive time to make infrastructure, trying to be friends with more countries outside the area like UN, Nato and even EU. instead they have to make a defendeble territory by taking everything north of the Eufrat meaning along Tisran dam, Ragga and meeting Iraqian Shiits well prepered in an deep defence line.

    Yes : This they dont like Kurds as well too. Make the helpers of the Bagdad rule give them less or none help. You can help it by reducing Your own korruption as a good example too. Those friends are already in Kurd areas. Build and keep.

  • wimroffel

    Conquering Al Bab would make sense. By linking with the government held territory they would cut ISIS territory in two. On the other hand I doubt whether conquering Raqqa would be more than an empty trophy that would lengthen the front lines and make the SDF more vulnerable to ISIS attacks.