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Kurdish-led forces advance against ISIS in Syria’s Manbij region

By Rudaw 1/6/2016
The Kurdish-led SDF alliance is a key ally of the US-led coalition against ISIS.  File photo AFP/Getty Images.
The Kurdish-led SDF alliance is a key ally of the US-led coalition against ISIS. File photo AFP/Getty Images.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched an offensive against Islamic State (ISIS) militants in the Manbij pocket in a bid to cut them off from the Turkish border on Wednesday.

Clashes between the SDF and ISIS were “fierce and intense” an SDF advisor told AFP.

The offensive into the Manbij region comes a week after the SDF launched an offensive against ISIS in the northern countryside of Raqqa province.

It also comes after ISIS made advances in northwestern Syria, surrounding the key town of Mare’a and inching closer to the town of Azaz, near Syria Kurdistan’s westernmost canton, Afrin, and the Turkish border.

ISIS has used the northwestern Syrian border with Turkey to smuggle in new recruits and weapons, while the rest of the Syrian border has been closed off by Kurdish-led forces.

While Turkey opposes ISIS’s presence there it also does not want the Kurdish Peoples Protection Units (YPG) advancing into that region.

A Turkish military source cited by Hurriyet news said on Wednesday that Turkey had been informed by the US about this operation but is not contributing to it. 

"Turkey has no contribution to the support that the US gives to the YPG in Syria's Manbij region. Turkey was informed by the United States about the operation, but any contribution is out of question," said the source. 

"It is also out of question politically for Turkey to give support to a YPG operation," the source added. 

The YPG is the largest group fighting under the umbrella of the SDF. US officials have sought to reassure their Turkish allies by claiming most of the SDF members taking part in this offensive are Arabs.

US Special Forces advisors and air power are assisting the SDF in both these offensives.

Turkey opposes US support of the Syrian Kurds – saying they are part of its outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) – and says the US should ditch the YPG in favor of a joint American-Turkish operation against ISIS in Syria.

“Actually if we join forces… we could easily advance to Raqqa after opening a new front on the Jarablus line and clear out the area towards the south and seal the Manbij pocket,” Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told a press conference on Sunday.

“We say okay, a second front should be opened but not with the YPG,” he said.


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kurt basar | 1/6/2016
It is very good news, I hope they will be successful against those Jihadi International Muslim terrorists, who are supported and supplied by the Turkish criminal thugs, who are burning the Kurd's alive for just not letting them to speak their language. Kurd's should continue to their battle until annexation of the Afrin canton and behind, and they should remember the battle of the Kobani and those ISIL savages, who sold the innocent naked Kurdish girls at the lizard eater Arab bazaars with thee Salafi Turks help.
numani | 1/6/2016
actually, as long as the land is controlled by pro-American people, it is not big deal whether it is controlled by Kurd and Arabs.. . . . . . .. may be after Syria war over, in a federal state, some of northern Syria territory will be ruled by kurds, some of them will be ruled by pro-american arabs who has good relation with kurds. . . . . . . . actually current territory ruled by kurds is more than enough. it does not bring any benefit even kurds doubled their territory. ....... the matter is to capture strategic territory to have a connection to Mediterranean sea...... in this way, iraq kurds will be free to please turks and iranians for economic survival. ......why share oil revenues with turks, iran or iraq. .......if there is a corridor even ruled by pro-usa arabs, kurds will get a big benefit from it.............. I also have a feeling that turkish foreign minister is already aware of situation. he might be notified several month ago about kurdish plan about manjib......but he is also member of Erdogan regime and trying to trick brainwashed akp voters to keep voting for them. ......they fuelled turkish nationalism flame and now afraid of losing votes if voters feel akp is not doing enough to prevent usa or kurds......... last thing is one of akp deputy prime miniter told" we asked usa. do you want to work with us or with ypg?" it sounds like a kind of threat but actually meaningless. sure america will tell "we already started work with ypg. you know already that"...... so akp will say "ok, we just ask just in case. wish you good luck. if you need any help we are here". that is all. ... ... ....
Two faced | 2/6/2016
Turkey is two faced. They want to get rid of daesh but forbid the SDF from doing so. The American hands are tied. Actually, Erdogan wanted daesh to survive. They wanted that border area to be under tha hands of daesh so Turkey can smuggle weapons to daesh. Erdogan think the American is stupid. On the contrary, they are playing games with Turkey just as Turkey is playing games with American.
Help the Ezidis | 2/6/2016
Rudaw mentioned already the standpoint of the Islamic State of Turkey's Foreign Minister. Why is Rudaw repeating that statement? Free press is all right, but now you are undermining the coalition of the US and the YPJ and YPG every time when you are repeating that statement. Remember that you are at war even with the Islamic State of Turkey because they are helping the enemies of the Syrian Kurds!
Vibe | 2/6/2016
The YPG made two mistakes in the Syrian chess game. First they took over Sheykh Isa and that prevented ISIS from encircling Marea. Then they started Manbij operation before ISIS overrun Azaz. Now the Turkish backed jihadists are happy because YPG saved their butts inadvertently.

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