Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 46 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds   

Russians, Syrian Army take over Manbij and its US Bases, Blocking Turkey

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   1 comment
Message Juan Cole
Become a Fan
  (4 fans)

From Informed Comment

(Image by Video Screenshot)   Details   DMCA

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) took control of the city of Manbij on Tuesday, with Russian gendarmes taking up patrols of the city as US special operations forces abandoned two military bases in the region, which were also taken over by Russians.

The SAA and the Russians appear to have beaten Turkey to the punch, since as the LA Times's Nabih Bulos and Umar Farooq point out, Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan has long wanted to take the city to curb the Kurds, and had been making a thrust into their area.

Russian troops are alsopatrolling the contact areas where Turkish and Syrian Arab Army forces are facing one another.

A few days ago, Russian president Vladimir Putin demanded that all foreign military forces get out of Syria, in a message aimed at Turkey, with which Moscow is not happy over this incursion. The Russians deny that they ever greenlighted it.

The Turkish army invaded after Trump told Erdogan it would be OK over the telephone.

Manbij was a key Western outpost for the Kurdish YPG in its earlier bid to establish a mini-state in northeastern Syria. That dream collapsed when the Kurds invited Damascus and Russia to intervene to save them from the Turkish army invasion of their territory.

Manbij had fallen to Syrian rebels defying the Baathist regime in 2012, but gradually fell into the hands of the most militant among them, the so-called Islamic State group or ISIL.

In summer of 2016, Informed Comment was closely following the attempt by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to oust ISIL from the northern Syrian city of Manbij. It was hard fighting over several months, both by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and the smaller number of Sunni Arab fighters who were put in the vanguard for PR purposes. Manbij is a largely Arab city, and there were concerns about a perception of an alien invasion.

US troops were embedded with the SDF and US pilots flew dozens of sorties in support of the effort. The US tried to enlist the help of Turkey, but Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan refused to cooperate on the grounds that Kurdish fighters were involved in the effort. Manbij was on a major smuggling route from Turkey whereby ISIL brought in key materiel. So Erdogan's refusal to help here was extremely annoying.

And then in late summer, Manbij fell, much to the joy of local residents who had been regimented by the cult of terror, ISIL.

It was a joint US-Syrian Democratic Forces victory and a milestone in the gradual defeat of ISIL, since it closed off a major smuggling route for them.

Russian personnel took over the abandoned US bases, symbolically announcing the ending of American presence in Syria.

Bonus video:

RT America: "Russian troops enter NE Syria to fill 'security gap' left by US"

Rate It | View Ratings

Juan Cole Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Juan Cole is an American academic and commentator on the modern Middle East and South Asia.  He is Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. Since 2002, he has written a weblog, Informed Comment (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Rupert Murdoch's Fox postpones Pirro, as his Sky Channel is Pulled from NZ Airwaves for airing Shooter's Video

Clouds of War: Russia sends Warships as Turkey kills 45 Syrian Troops and blackmails Europe with Migration

India Doubles Iran Oil Imports: Are Trump's Sanctions Cratering?

Who's Running John Bolton to Start a war with Iran? He worried even Mad Dog Mattis

Top 5 Mistakes GOP's Wohl Made in allegedly framing Mueller for Sex Charges

Trump hands Oil & Gas to Syria & Russia as he claims "We've taken control of the oil in the Middle East"

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend