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Manbij Military Council vows to resist possible Turkish assault

By Rudaw 5/2/2018
A crowd of thousands took to the streets of Afrin city on Sunday to protest Turkey’s ongoing military operation. Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP
A crowd of thousands took to the streets of Afrin city on Sunday to protest Turkey’s ongoing military operation. Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Manbij Military Council has vowed to resist any potential Turkish military operation on the city. It said any such assault would only destroy its hard won peace and allow terrorist groups to return.

"We would like to let the public know that any possible attack on the city of Manbij will be responded to with the same historic resistance of Afrin, and it will be a harsh lesson for anyone who dares to go forth against Manbij," the SDF-linked Manbij Military Council (MMC) said in a statement on Monday. 

Turkey and its proxies in the Free Syrian Army (FSA) previously tried to take over Manbij, but were stopped by the "resistance and determination of the Manbij Military Council," the statement said.  

In early 2017, as part of its Euphrates Shield operation, Turkish and FSA forces launched attacks on several villages in the Manbij area. US forces mobilized in the area in a display of support for their allies and the council handed over control of some villages to Syrian state forces to serve as buffer between them and the Turkish army. 

The MMC condemned Turkey’s ongoing operation in Afrin.

"This aggression that practices ethnic cleansing and mass genocide against our people in Afrin is aimed for producing terrorist groups in areas where there is peace and coexistence," the MMC added. 

It called on the international community and human rights groups to oppose aggression against both Afrin and Manbij. 

The local administration has imposed a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew on the city, citing security concerns. It came into force on February 5 and is expected to remain in place until February 25. 

Manbij fell to ISIS early in 2014 and became a hub for the group's foreign fighters. ISIS was ousted from the city on August 12, 2016 by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) with coalition backing.

The multi-ethnic town is now ruled by the MMC and a civilian council. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on January 26 that Operation Olive Branch may extent eastward from Afrin to Manbij and all the way to the Iraqi border. 

A day later, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu requested the US military immediately remove its troops stationed in Manbij. 

Colonel Ryan Dillon, spokesperson for the US-led Coalition, insisted US troops are not planning to leave Manbij and will stay until told otherwise.

"Turkey knows where our forces are in Manbij, and what they are doing there, and why they are there – to prevent any kind of escalation between the groups who are in that area," Dillon told Rudaw. 

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag told CNN Turk on Sunday that "American soldiers in YPG uniforms" would become targets in any confrontation between Turkey and the US. 

The armed Kurdish force YPG is the backbone of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the war against ISIS.

Operation Olive Branch began on January 20 when Turkish forces launched a military incursion into the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northwest Syria. Turkey believes the ruling Kurdish groups in Rojava, northern Syria are “terrorists,” a charge the groups deny. 

The Turkish advance on Afrin has made slow progress. Most of the fighting has been concentrated along the mountainous frontier. 


Peter Jordan | 5/2/2018
Turkey objective in Afrin is to depopulate Afrin of Kurd and replace it with Syrian refugees which will be ultimately under the sovereignty of Turkey if the Russian allow. Russian will allowed it in return for Turkey support and loyalty.
Shabo Azad | 5/2/2018
Better America and its bad influence using Kurds then abonding them must end. Nobody needs the catastrphical results of America. FSA must build more Kurdish units give Kurds all its rights and fight together to prevent Assad tyrant to attack civilians.
Outsider | 6/2/2018
Imposing a curfew means that the authorities are scared of their own population (population in Manjib)... and has nothing to do with the Turks... I understand YPG... you cannot trust US in north east Manjib and/or Russia in south of Manjib... both have sold out the Kurds in the past... see KRG ... see Afrin
war-analyst | 6/2/2018
All Kurds in all regions should better prepare - Erdogan/Turkey wants to conquer all kurdish areas. for sure!! And Kurds should really think about their fight tactics. Kurds sit in their positions and wait for the attacks of the enemies. The enemie concentrate all his power to one point, one position and destroy the position, kill the people there. then they attack the next position, concentrate all their force against them... so the kurds lose position after position. lose manpower, equipment, weapons... It was so in Kirkuk and it´s almost the same in afrin... Kurds should not give the enemy a target which he can attack... the kurdish fighter must be invisible for their enemies.

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