Syrian War Report – March 3, 2017: US-backed Forces Surrender Wide Areas Near Manbij To Syrian Army

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The Syrian army, backed up by the Russian Aerospace Forces, liberated the ancient city of Palmyra, including the Palmyra Airport from ISIS on March 2. Syrian army servicemen have been examining the historic part of Palmyra with the aim of demining the city.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) primarily consisting of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) will hand over wide areas west of the northern Syrian town of Manbij to the Syrian army, according to a statement released by the so-called Manbij Miltiary Council. The SDF wants to use Syrian army troops as a buffer against Turkish-backed militant groups in northern Syria and refers that this decision is made after talks with “Russia”, aiming to use the Russian and Syrian military and diplomatic capabilities to defend itself from Turkey.

Just in August 2016, Talal Silo, a spokesman for the SDF, argued that the US is the only SDF partner and the group was not going coordinate anti-ISIS efforts or even negotiate with any other side without a signal from the Americans. It seems the SDF/YPG dramatically changed its attitude in March 2017 after it had became clear that photos of few US Special Forces troops were not enough to prevent Turkey from aiming to seize Manbij and Tell Rifat.

Turkey sees the YPG as just a branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), with which Turkey has been at war almost continuously since 1984. In turn, the PKK seeks to establish an independent Kurdish state in southern Turkey. There are still no official reports which areas the Syrian army will control in the Manbij countryside. However, there are two options:

  1. The Syrian army enters villages west of Manbij. In this case, Turkey-led forces will be able to attack Manbij only from the direction of Jarabulus if they want to avoid confrontation with the Russian-Syrian-Iranian alliance.
  2. Or the Syrian army enters villages west and north of Manbi, preventing possible Turkish military operations in both directions.

In any case, one problem will remain. Ankara-led forces will still be able to attack the YPG/SDF in Tell Rifat. Last months, there were some Russian-mediated negotiations between the government and the YPG in the area, but YPG sources were fast to deny that any agreement had been reached.

Meanwhile, the Syrian army’s Tiger Forces have liberated Alisah, Um Al-Amad, Barlin, Abu Tawil, Rahmaniya, Qaziqli and some nearby points from ISIS in the province.

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  • Jens Holm

    YPG are not backed up taking so much land west of Manbij. KDF took Manbij after taking the land of northern Manbij County and afterwards the Town itself. That was the maximum agreement.

    • Jonathan Cohen

      Maximum agreement with whom?

      • Jens Holm

        Turks, Assads and KDF. Túrks didnt like that YPG had to be there too, but accepted it for taking the area and Manbij itself.

        The agreement was broken by YPG hard. There could be reasons to defend the new borderline to from ISIS, but never to try to take Jarablus as well as west towards Al Bab (+from Afrin).

        US and Nato confirmed it by diving YPG no airsupport for it, because it was operations which were not on the coalisiton for blocking the important roadsystens for Raqqa and more.

        Thats how I remember it.

  • Alberto

    I have seen several Dr. Assad interviews where the Kurds have been mentioned. What I took away from these interviews was that the Kurds as an ethnic group were considered Syrian citizens and as such would live in peace with other Syrian ethnic and religious groups. Am i correct in my assessment?

    • PJ London

      Yes but they want a certain amount of autonomy in managing the region where they are in the majority. In the past they had a good relationship with the non-kurds in their region, but as a result of the war many Christians and non-kurds have fled.
      Big problem is that they (may) provide a safe haven for Turkish kurds who attack and are under attack by the Turkish government.

    • Andrea Ceschin

      Just a little tip: normal people don’t like war, only rich investors want wars. Anglo-sionist corporations are very rich but are in debt as well! They have a lot of money and they always MUST look for a good way to invest. Take a look to current account balance table and look for USA position. Maybe you’ll be surprised. Usa simply support any kind of minority against government when they are interested in destroying a country (first they try using corruption, then supporting “civilian” war, at last using their own army). When USA give support to a minority for pushing a golpe, what do the governor have to do? Fighting “revolutionary fighters” (alias mercenary troops!) of course. At this point, if you don’t have force enough to block soon clashes and foreign support in international context as well, you’ll be accused to kill innocent civilians….

  • Hisham Saber

    Things are turning into a series of encirclements. The dam has broken. It will be the end of Euphrates Shield. I personally think the Russian, Syrian and Iranian MoD’s are doing a great job, given the circumstances.

    • Brad Isherwood

      One concern is the Kurds move against ISUS in NW Syria and from NE above Der Ezzor
      province.
      Kurds attacking ISUS is good.
      Kurds following the Giant Retard USA…..not good.

      Kurds Are sitting on the fence…..US bribes on their leaders makes Kurds Be’atch of
      Washington.
      The USA just murdered 1 Million Iraqi,
      And now the Kurds want sex with the Retarded Giant.

      What is it with the Kurds and Peshmurga..???

      • Jonathan Cohen

        It’s called desperation. you take help from whoever offers. Russia could and should have helped the Kurds years ago; and should still.

        • PJ London

          Unfortunately Russia believes in that old fashioned thing called ‘International Law’. It believes in territorial integrity and in not supporting terrorists and murderers.
          Just imagine how nice the world would be if all countries thought that way.

          • HAGGIS1969

            “Unfortunately Russia believes in that old fashioned thing called ‘International Law”…LOL

          • PJ London

            What an intelligent and revealing comment.

          • Bill Rood

            Care to offer any specific instances where they can be proven to have violated international law?

      • PJ London

        In 1989 the USA promised the Kurds of Iraq their own country if they helped overthrow Saddam in Gulf War one.
        Saddam had tried to unify the country by pushing Baath Arabs into the regions of the north (mainly Kurdish speakers) and the south mainly non-Baath Shia.
        When they coalition pushed Iraqi forces from Kuwait and slaughtered tens of thousands of fleeing Iraqis, they did not enter Iraq but stopped and allowed Saddam to retain power.
        However the USA-UK airforces placed a No-fly embargpo over northern and southern Iraq.
        The Kurds were betrayed and ‘Arabification’ of Mosul and the north intensified.
        Saddam putting Baath Arabs in control especially of the oil production and delivery. US wants Iraq oil Trump still talks as though it belongs to US, and in Gulf Two they allowed the Kurdish militia ‘Peshmurga’ to form and to take control of the north. This consisted of taking everything from the Arabs in the region and either putting them on the road to Bagdad or just shooting them.
        They took control of the oil and it was a US company that got the contract.
        Saudi-US-Qatar-Israel created ISIS to take control of northern Syria to allow a pipeline to be built to the Med so that Qatar and Saudi oil and gas can easily be carried to the industrial centres of Europe.
        That plan is stuffed thanks to Russian air power.
        The Kurds 20-30 million people spread over N Iran, N Iraq, N Syria and Southern Turkey want a homeland of their own. The area has plenty of oil and US wants to create a ‘Kurdistan’ to ‘own’ the oil.
        Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey do not want to give up territory.
        The Kurds would have to be really stupid to trust the US but they do not have many options.
        All four countries crack down on the Kurds as they form a ‘rebel’ movement destabilising the governments. All 4 have tried giving them some autonomy but the Kurds keep pushing for independence. It is an impossible situation for the region and no sati factory solution seems possible.
        In the immortal words of Millard Fillmore, “We are Phuqqued”.

        • Ronald

          Fairly accurate condensation of the history . Assad did give Syrian citizenship to a large number of Kurds who fled Turkey , and with this latest development (Syrian troops in Manbij ) the Kurds seem to have realized Assad is more trustworthy than the US .

        • Brad Isherwood

          http://www.unz.com/mwhitney/mcmaster-takes-charge-trump-relinquishes-control-of-foreign-policy/

          McMaster then offers a remedy for so called ‘Russian aggression’: “…what is required to deter a strong nation that is waging limited war for limited objectives on battlegrounds involving weaker states … is forward deterrence, to be able to ratchet up the cost at the frontier, and to take an approach to deterrence that is consistent with deterrence by denial, convincing your enemy that your enemy is unable to accomplish his objectives at a reasonable cost rather than sort of an offshore balancing approach and the threat of punitive action at long distance later, which we know obviously from – recent experience confirms that that is inadequate.”

          “Forward deterrence”? This needs to be clarified.

          What McMaster is saying, is that, instead of threatening to retaliate at some time in the future, the US should use ‘deterrence by denial’, that is, make it as hard and as costly as possible for Russia to achieve its strategic objectives. By defeating ISIS in Eastern Syria and establishing permanent US military bases, McMaster intends to prevent Russia from restoring Syria’s sovereign borders which is one of the primary goals of the mission. The “safe zones” that Trump has talked about recently, fit perfectly with this same strategy as they undermine Moscow’s efforts to reunify the state and bring the conflict to an end.

          This appears to be the plan that McMaster will pursue as national security adviser. Expect US ground troops to be deployed to Syria as soon as the details are worked out.
          (Excerpt )

          Syria and Iraq worn down by years of war/chaos,
          Empire just waltzes in and takes what will on the easy.
          Will Russia oppose McMaster scheme in Eastern Syria ?

          • PJ London

            It is what USA-Israel has been doing for years, the Yinon plan in action.
            I do not think that US will be able to establish bases in Syria and Iraq and Turkey are not supportive of US having bases either. It seem more as though the McMasters strategy is being employed against US-Israel.
            Russians are chess grand masters, not poker players, and US is at this time bluffing on a busted flush.
            Personally I don’t give a damn, it is amusing to watch the monkeys dance.
            I have given up being outraged or hurt by the evil, 70 years of watching 100s of millions die.
            I am just disgusted with the whole human race.

          • Bill Rood

            Here’s an alternative: SAA uses the advanced artillery hardware and tactics it has achieved to constantly encroach on illegal “safe zones” without even using air power except to enforce its own “no-fly” over territories it controls. A steady flow of body bags sours the rank and file of us “volunteer” army on the whole project, and with them the American people.

          • Brad Isherwood

            http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-assad-idUSKBN15P1AK

            Will Syria use artillery on US/SDF with/without Russia support?
            Russia appears to be in the lead of recent operations/ area movement…such as
            Manjib and the Kurd area hand over to SAA.

          • Bill Rood

            No idea. I’m not a military expert or a seer, nor do I have a link to Assad’s brain, so I don’t know if the SAA would actually try to act so independently as what I suggesetd. I was just pointing out that Syria might possibly have its own form of “forward deterrence” that could be actually rather difficult for the US to defeat without a massive US troop presence, which the American people do not want.

        • archer

          Greed got us into this mess, but greed can’t get us out.

      • Kell

        They are a pawn in big jew and little jew (America/Israel’s) plan to disrupt a Shia crescent.

  • hvaiallverden

    Wise move Kurds.
    WE should all berried the hatchet, and take an break to find the path forward for you all.
    In the end, Kurds, you have to take a pick, perpetual war fare or peace with your nabours, like Iran, Iraq and Turkien, if not, been an new Israel 2.0, the instability will continue, wars will in the end not benefit you as an people and non of us will ever speak up again.

    I hope your people takes and hard look at what runs Kurdish regions this days, clans of criminals, oligarchs feed from outside, keept in place by greed and threats of violence, what good can ever come from such an scenario witch I know is exciting as we speak.
    Look at them, do your life and prosperity been better, some regions of course since its fueled by oil but general, is it.

    With the Syrian and the future Iraqi Gov. where both will work for their own people witch incl everybody, gives every one of you an chance to improve, the Imperial banana republic have never helped anyone except them selfs and those minions they controls the region thru greed and threats.
    I hope sanity will prevail, and we all hope for an better future for you all.
    So that ion the end, you will have your land, Kurds, the thing your people have fighter and dreamed of, for generations, dont waist it in short sighted stupidity and greed.
    May the lord bless you and the rest with an brighter future and lighten the path to greater wisdom.

    peace

    • Jonathan Cohen

      Peace between Kurds and pro-choice Russia sure, but with Syria, Iraq and Iran, abortion rights are not negotiable. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_law

    • StaggerLee360

      You’re a pretty ignorant guy. How come you can’t write or spell? Why do you think you make any sense or are worth listening to when you demonstrate that you have a third grade education? Are you the product of a failed education system, or are you a Pakistani posing as an American?

      • Bill Rood

        He is obviously not a native English speaker, but I understood every sentence. How many foreign languages do you speak or write with even half the competence of hvaiallverden, you arrogant fool?

  • Jonathan Cohen

    If I was YPG, I would give the Turkish army passage to the Daesh front south of manbij so they could fight Daesh again. that would risk their turning north against manbij, but to do so they would have to turn their backs on Daesh. Cutting Turkey off from Daesh looks like a big mistake to me, even if they did trade a while back, they fought each other hard recently. Turkey and Daesh should be allowed to fight each other instead of pro-choice YPG.

    • PJ London

      Turkish forces should immediately withdraw to their own country and return the Antakya province to Syria while they are at it.
      Antakya and Golan must be returned and then Syria will be at peace and whole again.

      • Bill Wilson

        I believe Israel was negotiating the return of the Golan Heights with Assad when all this crap broke out. Remember how the West thought back then that Assad was a swell fellah compared to his daddy? Back then the MSM was saying that Syria was an island of tranquility when compared to Lebanon and Iraq. That disappeared after some speculated that there were vast reserves of oil and gas off Syria’s shores.

        • PJ London

          Israel will talk and tak and talk, but only so that it can attack somewhere else.
          They will never give up their dream, the Land of Israel, also called Complete Land of Israel or Entire Land of Israel (Hebrew: ארץ ישראל השלמה‎‎, Eretz Yisrael Hashlemah). ‘From the nile to the cedars and from the sea to the Euphrates.’
          God promised it to them, why would they accept anything less. The fact that it has oil and the right of way for billions of barrels of oil and gas is just a coincidence, a bonus.
          They were negotiating from the Mossad basis. By deception make war, or in this case pretend to make a deal.
          “The goal [of the December 2003 Israeli plan to double the number of settlers on the Golan] is for Assad to see from the windows of his home the Israeli Golan thriving and flourishing. … The government resolution is a response to the initiative posed by Syria, which on one hand announces that it is interested in peace, and on the other hand openly supports Palestinian terror.”
          (Yisrael Katz, December 2003)

          Ben-Gurion said: First we’ll sign a cease-fire agreement with Syria, then we’ll see. That destroyed my childhood version. It’s not that Ben-Gurion didn’t want peace, he wanted peace, but on the basis of the status quo. Israel said at the time that there was nobody to talk to. The truth is that Israel was actually saying that there was nothing to talk about.”
          (Avi Shlaim, August 2005)

          David Ben-Gurion, May 1948, to the General Staff. From Ben- Gurion, A Biography, by Michael Ben-Zohar, Delacorte, New York 1978: “We should prepare to go over to the offensive. Our aim is to smash Lebanon, Trans-Jordan, and Syria. The weak point is Lebanon, for the Moslem regime is artificial and easy for us to undermine. We shall establish a Christian state there, and then we will smash the Arab Legion, eliminate Trans-Jordan; Syria will fall to us. We then bomb and move on and take Port Said, Alexandria and Sinai.”

          General Clarke :
          “So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, “Are we still going to war with Iraq?” And he said, “Oh, it’s worse than that.” He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, “I just got this down from upstairs” — meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office — “today.” And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” I said, “Is it classified?” He said, “Yes, sir.” I said, “Well, don’t show it to me.” And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, “You remember that?” He said, “Sir, I didn’t show you that memo! I didn’t show it to you!”

          • Thegr8rambino

            Well they sure failed to do all that in 5 years, and hopefully they never finish the list lol

        • Ronald

          1947 French Geologists estimated Syria’s of shore oil and gas to be as great as Saudi Arabia . 2002 , Golan Heights oil and gas strata estimated at 300 meters thick , and an area of 150 sq. miles , again Saudi like large . Claimed by Genie Energy of NJ .( Rothschild ) .

          • Bill Wilson

            That was wild speculation by the French since deep sea sesmic technology wasn’t invented yet in 1947. The Golan Heights test wells haven’t found any good rock yet so is doubtful if that field will be developed. Jordan has a gigantic shale formation full of kerogen that surpasses Saudi Arabia’s reserve. Israel has a huge one just south of the West Bank in the Negev. The USA has the largest kerogen formation out west in the Green River Basin that holds 9-12 trillion barrels. That stuff is what sweet light crude and natural gas is created from after it gets cooked at a high temperature deep underground for an extended period of time. Phillips Petroleum found a way to speed up that process by using electric heaters inside well bores. Israel and Jordan will be the next major producers once the Saudi fields become depleted.

          • Ronald

            Golan Heights is a proven deposit that does not need to be fracked , and so no good rock is necessary . Rothschild does not waste his time and money . But thank you for your information on Jordan and the kerogen deposits .

      • Brad Isherwood

        Was browsing decades back Israeli articles on why they must keep Golan to block
        Syria from access to Water/Sea of Galilee.

        In the 1920s French/Damascus mandate, …..Syria was given half of the Lake.
        The Jews lobbied for Syria to be pushed off the Lake in the 1923 Signatory.

        • PJ London

          Jewish people stealing land since 1923.

      • Jonathan Cohen

        That would leave SAA to crush Daesh and al Nusra alone, which they would have done by now if they could. Let Turkey take some of the casualties.

        • PJ London

          Taking out al Nusra would be no problem once Turkey and USA stop supplying them.
          Daesh also require a war of attrition, street by street, without US air strikes no problem. Palmyra twice and Deir ez Zur has been held without land support for years.
          Get the foreigners out and SAA will clean up in months.

          • Jonathan Cohen

            Then with foreigners pounding Daesh, it should only take a week, especially if foreigners are racing each other and SAA to take Daesh territory first.

          • PJ London

            Unfortunately ‘the foreigners’ are not pounding Daesh, but SAA and civilians.
            With no ‘Status of Force Agreement’, ‘Foreigners’ are mercenaries and not subject to the Geneva convention.
            Charge them find them guilty and shoot them.
            They better pray that they are not taken prisoner. Mogadishu will have nothing on the Syrian women’s revenge on US troops if taken.
            They have earned it.
            …………
            “I will use the full power of the CIA and the U.S. military to steal the resources of any country who opposes the intrusion of Wall Street bankers, oil magnates and transnational corporations.
            A 1992 internal government document entitled “Defense Planning Guidance,” authored by then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney (CFR) and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz (CFR), which contemplated the use of military force against any nation the conspirators perceived to be hostile against their interests.
            …….
            The plan to surreptitiously invade Libya and other countries is not new. It was mentioned by NATO commander Wesley Clark (CFR) during a speech he gave at the University of Alabama in October of 2006. According to Clark, a general at the Pentagon told him that they had plans to invade seven countries in five years, “starting with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, then Libya, Somalia, Sudan, then we’re going to come back and get Iran in five years.”

  • Bill Wilson

    Me thinks that the Kurds and Assad made arrangements long ago for Syrian government forces to replace Kurdish units in stable Arab dominated areas so they could continue to fight ISIS elsewhere. I doubt if Tayyip will try attacking the Kurds in a headlong fashion since his troops got bogged down trying to dislodge a few ISIS fighters.

    • Thegr8rambino

      SAA should find a way to make turkey and Isis fight each other, let them take some casualties for a change, making it easier for SAA

  • Bill Rood

    Perhaps they are beginning to sense that the Assad government is the one that will keep its commitments.

  • Germinator

    The Kurds should surrender the whole area west of Euphrat-River to Syrian Army (INCLUDING the Afrin, Tal Rifaat, Menagh Area). No more chance for Erdocunt and the Headshoppers to expand in that Area. I think the Kurds would get 5000-10,000 Fighters to the to expectet future Frontline of Rojava (Kobani, Kamischli, Hasakah….). This would be a great strategic Win for both sides….