Turkey has ordered its proxies in northern Syria to prepare for a possible military operation to capture the strategic city of Manbij, which is held by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Syrian journalist Hadi al-Abdullah reported on July 19.
“Turkey has asked the Syrian National Army (NSA) factions to prepare for a possible military operation in the city of Manbij … Turkey also sent special reconnaissance forces to areas near the city of Tell Abyad in the governorate of Raqqa in northeastern Syria,” al-Abdullah wrote on his blog.
The journalist, who is known for his pro-opposition views and his good relations with Turkish-backed factions, said that Turkey informed NSA commanders of the new plans during a high-level meeting that was held on July 16.
Ankara asked its proxies to provide lists of fighters who are ready to participate in any military operation in Manbij and ordered them to begin their preparations.
U.S, Russian and French forces as well as many units of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) are currently deployed in Manbij to support the SDF.
Turkey planned to capture Manbij several times in the last two years. However, the complex situation there prevented Ankara from taking action before. This could happen again this time as all foreign forces and the SAA are still in their positions around the town.