Jan 02 2019

Turkish-backed rebels withdraw from front lines with Kurdish fighters in Manbij - report

Turkish-backed rebel forces in Syria have completely withdrawn from the front lines with Kurdish-led fighters near the country’s northeast town of Manbij, the Lebanese Daily Star newspaper quoted the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights as saying Wednesday.

The report follows the Ankara-backed rebels amassing north of the city last week alongside Turkish soldiers on their side of the border and in parts of Syria where they have deployments following Ankara’s announcement of a military incursion into Kurdish-held town of Manbij in December.

Ankara has vowed to clear the region of Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey views as a terrorist group and a threat to its territorial integrity, however, announced a delay to the incursion following the U.S. announcement on Dec. 19 of complete military withdrawal from war-torn Syria.

The YPG, which forms the backbone of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighting the Islamic State (ISIS) in the region, last Friday, invited the Syrian army to assert control over Manbij and protect against a Turkish invasion.

While the U.S. denied the report, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed the information that the Syrian government's forces had taken control of the city of the city was true.