Turkey has ordered Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups deployed on a frontline around the northern city of Manbij to withdraw and end the state of emergency, the Syrian Step News Agency reported on at the late hours of December 30.
According to the pro-opposition news agency, Ankara backed-off from its plans to attack the city, which is held by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), as a result of the high-level Russia-Turkish meeting held in Moscow two days ago.
Earlier this week, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) announced its withdrawal from Manbij and called on the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) to protect the city from Turkey’s threats. The army responded within few hours and deployed a large force in the outskirt of the Manbij.
However, U.S. and French forces didn’t withdraw from the city. Later, a local official said that the SAA was deployed only on the front line with Turkish-backed forces and said that the city is still under the control the SDF’s Manbij Military Council (MMC).
Local observers say that the presence of U.S. and French forces as well as Syrian and Russian forces around Manbij may have deterred Ankara and forced it to abandon its plan to attack the city.