The report came days after Kurdish militias, who seized the city from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, ISIS or Daesh), cut a deal with the Syrian government for army troops to deploy at the border in the face of the Turkish onslaught after the US left them alone to be crushed by President Erdogan’s army.
The Russian Defense Ministry announced Tuesday Syrian government forces took control of an area of more than 1,000 square kilometres around the Northeastern Syrian city of Manbij.
After reaching a deal with the Kurds, the Syrian Army said it was moving in to secure the strategic border area. The Syrian government troops have reportedly entered several towns and villages in the middle of the Kurdish-controlled part of the country.
— Fars News Agency (@EnglishFars) October 15, 2019
The Syrian Army deployment would support the Kurdish fighters in countering the Ankara aggression and “liberating the areas that the Turkish Army and mercenaries had entered”, the Kurds said in a statement, adding it would also allow for the liberation of other Syrian cities occupied by the Turkish Army such as Afrin.
The deployment of the Syrian army forces comes as Kurdish militias in Northern Syria face an incursion from neighboring Turkey. Ankara and its allied militants launched a cross-border military operation to destroy the kurdish militias.
It also came after US Defense Secretary Mark Esper declared that up to 1,000 American troops would be withdrawn from Northern Syria because of the increasing danger posed by the fighting.
The Kurds in Syria previously enjoyed the protection of the US allegedly in a campaign against the terrorist group. The protection, however, was de facto withdrawn days ago by President Donald Trump, who pulled out American troops that had previously been embedded with the militias.
The city of Raqqa was captured in 2013 by militants and then by the ISIL. The terror group went on to make the city its de facto capital in 2014. In mid-October 2017, following a lengthy battle that saw massive destruction to the city, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) declared the liberation of Raqqa from ISIL to be complete.