US Central Command chief General Joseph Votel said on January 29 that the US is not going to pull out its forces from Syria’s Manbij despite Turksih statements to launch a military operation against the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) there.
Earlier in January, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkish forces are going to clear the entire Turkish border from “terrorists” [the Kurdish-dominated SDF] and that Manbij will be among the targets of the operation.
According to official reports, the US has about 2,000 troops deployed in northern Syria. These troops are embedded with SDF units.
Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch against Kurdish forces in Afrin and the US support to the SDF have already complicated the diplomatic relations between Ankara and Washington. The ongoing tensions will grow dramatically if Ankara makes an attempt to clear Manbij from the US-backed forces.