The US has deployed 300 additional soldiers in the Syrian city of Manbij, the Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu Agency reported on April 1.
“The U.S. is taking measures against a possible counter-terror operation led by Turkey in Syria’s northern Manbij district,” the state-run news agency wrote.
According to the report, the reinforcements were deployed near the Sajur River, located near a contact line between Turkey-led forces and the area controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), described by Ankara as a terrorist group, is the core of the SDF.
On January 20, the Turkish military and its proxies started a large-scale military operation against the YPG in the Afrin area in northwestern Syria. On March 18, Turkish forces captured Afrin from the YPG.
Over the past month, Turkish leadership have repeatedly threatened to launch a military operation in Manbij if the YPG remains deployed in the area. This has caused the growth of tensions between Ankara and Washington. The US sees the SDF as one of its key tools to keep influence in northern and eastern Syria.
On March 31, two US-led coalition servicemembers were killed in an IED blast in the area of Manbij. Pro-Kurdish sources immidiately accuesd Turkish-backed militants of being behind the attack.