Things are heating up in Syria’s Manbij, located in the northeast of the Aleppo governorate, after U.S. President Donald Trump decided to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, and as Turkey’s military operation looms.
It has been revealed that security teams linked to Egypt’s leader Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who is in serious competition with Turkey in the East Mediterranean, made contacts in Manbij. Security sources have also said that some Emirati figures also partook in the visit. It was reported that the delegation is coordinating steps to be taken against Turkey.
Syrian state-run SANA news agency reported on Friday that regime forces entered the PYD/YPG-held city after the terror group invited Syrian forces to take control of the region and ward off an announced Turkish operation. Turkey sees the group an extension of PKK terrorist organization.
A U.S. defense official later denied reports Syria's Bashar al-Assad regime forces entered Manbij.
Intel officials provide minute-by-minute reports
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also responded to reports of regime forces entering Manbij in coordination with the YPG/PKK terror group, saying the Assad regime is running a “psychological” operation.
"We know that Syria is trying to conduct a psychological operation. We know that there is a situation like them raising their own [regime] flag there. But there is nothing definite there yet," said Erdoğan.
Top Turkish officials were in Moscow on Saturday to discuss the situation in Syria.
“First, we discussed solutions to humanitarian issues, the creation of conditions for the return of refugees,” said Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, adding: “Special attention was paid to the new situation developing in connection with the U.S. military withdrawal from Syria."
“And an understanding was reached on how the military representatives of Russia and Turkey will continue to coordinate their steps on the ground amid the new conditions, with a view to the final eradication of the terrorist threat on Syrian soil,” he added.
As Turkey continues its military deployments to the region, Turkish intelligence officials are surveying the area 24/7 and reporting back to headquarters.
Turkey has repeatedly voiced frustration over what it says is the slow implementation of a deal with Washington to pull YPG terrorists out of Manbij, a town in mainly Arab territory west of the Euphrates.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States. The YPG and PYD are its Syrian extensions.