Damascus: The Syrian army’s acquisition of Manbij, located in northern Syrian, is proving to be vital. Russia has now jumped into the fray to stop Turkey, who is preparing to attack the Syrian military for gaining control over Manbij. The country has deployed its military on the borders of Manbij and has announced that Russia would not allow a clash between the Turkish and Syrian armies. However, Turkish President Erdogan has reiterated that his country would not retreat unless its objective were achieved.
After the Kurds reached a deal with Syria’s Assad government, they handed over the control of Manbij, Kobani and some other important cities, to the Syrian military. Russia had announced that after the Syrian army was handed Manbij, they gained control over some surrounding areas as well. Nevertheless, Manbij falls in the Safe Zone of 444 kilometres, which Turkey had announced. President Erdogan had declared to continue with the Turkish military offensive until the entire Safe Zone, which includes the city of Manbij, was cleared of terrorists.
Given the developments, the Turkish military is advancing towards Manbij. The Turkish military may launch attacks on Manbij to seize control and expel the Kurds. The Syrian army deployed in Manbij could however launch counterattacks at the Turkish military, sparking fears of it likely culminating into a war, between the neighbouring countries. Russia has thus deployed its soldiers at the borders of Manbij to restrict Turkey from invading the city for control.
Russia has sent its troops to Manbij and instructed its military units at the Tartous and other military bases to remain alert. On the other hand, Russia is also trying to open a dialogue between Turkey and Syria, on the same lines as of the truce negotiated between the Assad government and the Kurdish fighters. The Russian soldiers have also left for the region to the east of the Euphrates river, with the US-allied SDF fighters while the Syrian military has entered Raqqa. Turkey had launched attacks on both the areas a few days ago.
Meanwhile, US Vice President Mike Pence would be arriving in Turkey within the next few hours to discuss the action in Syria. Even the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo would be visiting Turkey in the next two days. Pompeo has said that he would appeal to President Erdogan to stop the attacks on Syria, during his visit. Contrarily, the Turkish President has already declared to continue the attacks, with disregard for any US sanctions.