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Rudaw

Syria

US Special Forces active in Manbij offensive, says YPG official

By Rudaw 7/6/2016
U.S. Special Operations forces ride in the back of a pickup truck in the village of Fatisah in the northern Syrian province of Raqqa on May 25. (Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. Special Operations forces ride in the back of a pickup truck in the village of Fatisah in the northern Syrian province of Raqqa on May 25. (Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images)
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—A group of US military advisers have taken part in the ongoing operation to retake the strategic town of Manbij in northeast of Syria, which started last week, says the spokesperson of the Manbij military council, Sharvan Darwesh.
 

Darwesh, who is also a member of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), told Rudaw that the US team led the intensive aerial attacks on ISIS positions in and around the besieged city.


An additional 250 US troops were deployed to Syria last month to coordinate with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a military umbrella group which also includes the YPG.

There are currently some 5,000 US troops in Iraq and around 500 in neighboring Syria.
 

“ISIS defense lines were effectively weakened after repeated coalition airstrikes and the ground offensive that targeted the town from two directions,” Darwesh said and added that the SDF troops were currently located less than 10 kilometers from Manbij.

 
“If we continue as planned, our troops should be in the city in two weeks,” he added.

Manbij, with a population of 80,000, is regarded as a strategic town due to its location in the northwestern corner of the country located between ISIS held Aleppo in the south and Jarablus in the north. The city is some 50 kilometers from the Kurdish controlled Kobani and if retaken from ISIS, it could facilitate an integration of the two cantons of Kobani and Afrin in the northwest, currently separated by ISIS held territories.

Turkey has been a vocal opponent to YPG control of the region fearing it could strengthen the Kurdish guerrillas grip on the bordering areas. It has occasionally shelled the advancing YPG forces in northwest of Syria near its own borders.

Ankara has shown more restraint in the ongoing operations in Manbij after US officials reportedly gave assurances that the YPG forces would retreat from the area after the operation.

US President Barak Obama spoke with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on May 19 about the current offensive.

Comments

 
Ben | 7/6/2016
“If we continue as planned, our troops should be in the city in two weeks,” here you go, the difference between a professional force that understands how these things work and Iraqi amateurs who claimed they would take Falluja 'in a few days' two weeks ago
Help the Ezidis | 7/6/2016
Hi US-folks: good that you are helping the YPJ and YPG!It is good for the future ties between the Syrian Kurds and the US/EU in stead of leaving them doing business solely with FARC and Russia when I read the ANF-website! That is a wrong policy when they are doing businesses with these institutions, because Russia is helping Assad and Iran. So they are playing very dirty tricks with the Syrian Kurds. It would be better if the responsible Kurdish persons inside Syria and the KRG could unite eachother and are not fighting with words and media towards eachother. Where are the wise (young) women and men who can unite: don't be so immense stupid to go on with these underlying differences. I think it would be better that new people will start with a new beginning and that the elder and ideoligical hardliners from both sides should step aside...
The Kurdish Man | 7/6/2016
To "continue as planned",what for?.For USA supported chauvinist Arabs,Turks and Persians ?.On almost daily basis Washington is telling that it is against any kind of Kurdish rule on the planet Earth.Kurds dying for the others plans to destroy us,to enslave us...This happens because the Kurdish parties are being manipulated by our enemies.They do not unite.As they fractured as they are,they fall easily in the hands of the enemy as cheap blood being let for the others plans and interests.If Kurds unite they will get their country independent.
Dave Collins | 7/6/2016
Ben, you have it backwards. YPG and YPJ are militias, they are *not* a professional standing army. The Iraqi army is. They have all the shiny kit, lots of fire support, and plenty of training. And they still can't punch their way out of a wet paper bag. Professionalism doesn't ensure fighting spirit and good morale. It just means you get a paycheque.
American | 8/6/2016
"US officials reportedly gave assurances that the YPG forces would retreat from the area after the operation." We're going to betray YPG after many die fighting for Manbij? Forget genocide-denying Turkey.

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