…from Press TV, Tehran
[ Editor’s Note: We had a little hint that this move would be taking place when the Syrians established a new “observation point” west of Manbij. But we had a big hint with the video being released showing an SAA column heading there.
It was a long video, lots of tank carriers, artillery, ammunition and supply trucks, everything you would expect to be moving forward to dissuade a Turkish move into Syria.
The Turkish military is “casualty averse”, meaning it prefers to only engage in military operations when it has a massive superiority. With ISIS on the mats, the Syrians have the ability to shift troops around more easily now.
Developments are happening fast now in Syria, as the name of the game now is “If you snooze you lose”… Jim W. Dean ]
Update via Sputnik: “Riyadh has informed other Arab states that sees no obstacles to reinstating Syria’s membership in the Arab League, Al Mayadeen reported citing an anonymous diplomatic source within Saudi Arabia.”
My mention on the 26th is coming true, like a freight train, more really than I could have imagined: “While the Americans are on holiday, the midnight candles are burning in other capitals of the world trying to come up with some kind of plan to gain the initiative from the Trump withdrawal from Syria.
There should be now shooting due to the big Moscow pow pow tomorrow. Erdogan is on hold. As we have often said here at VT, someone taking the lead, and then others getting some momentum behind it, creates a “diplomatic draft” (a term I just invented) that others get sucked into, wanting to jump in the bandwagon and not be in the caboose as Johnnie come latelies are never remembered in history.
Trump could of course get credit for the move, and Mattis and the Pentagon, and all those in Congress chanting the old anti-Syria, anti-Russian line, will be left in the spotlight as having been clueless, against a major peace breakthrough for their own selfish reasons, not to mention the AIPAC pressure on them in the US. They all will carry the stain.
From Yelloweye in the comments below, a good link catch this morning from the YPG. Even they were smart enough to make a wise move, and do it quickly:
“Due to the invading Turkish state’s threats to invade northern Syria and displace its people similarly to al-Bab, Jarablus and Afrin, we as the People’s Protection Units, following the withdrawal of our forces from Manbij before, announce that our forces will be focusing on the fight against ISIS on all the fronts in the east of the Euphrates.
In conjunction with this, we invite the Syrian government forces which are obliged to protect the same country, nation and borders, to assert control over the areas our forces have withdrawn from, in particularly Manbij, and to protect these areas against a Turkish invasion.”
Consider this all a late Xmas present all those on the short end of the Syrian war stick. We may have even more news to celebrate on New Years… JD]
– First published … December 28, 2018 –
The Syrian army has entered Manbij near the Turkish border, marking the return of territories held by US-backed militants to the government fold for the first time in years, an army spokesman said Friday.
The announcement came moments after the city’s residents asked the Syrian government to retake Manbij following a US pledge to withdraw troops from the Arab country.
The army said it would guarantee “full security for all Syrian citizens and others present in the area.” Russia welcomed the development, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov calling it a positive trend.
“Of course, this will help in stabilizing the situation. The enlargement of the zone under the control of government forces… is without doubt a positive trend,” he said.
State-run SANA news agency said the army raised the national flag in the city which is mainly populated by Syrian Kurds. It is not clear yet whether US troops, which had a base in Manbij, remain in place or have withdrawn.
The city was held by US-backed YPG militia which Turkey regards an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Turkey had been sending so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) militants to Manbij in recent days, reportedly in preparation for an offensive to drive YPG fighters out of the city.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signaled earlier this month that a cross-border operation against the YPG would happen soon. Since 2016, Ankara has carried out two similar military operations in northern Syria.
Ankara has been assisting several militant groups fighting to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
The country, however, has moderated its initial hostility toward the Syrian government and been working with Iran and Russia to restore peace to Syria within a framework known as the Astana peace process.
Earlier Friday, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said the presidents of the three countries, known as the guarantor states of ceasefire in Syria, are scheduled to meet in Moscow in early January.
“It’s our turn to host the summit… around the first week of the year. This will depend on the schedules of the presidents,” Bogdanov was cited as saying by Interfax news agency.
The Astana format – which has brought the parties to the Syria conflict to the negotiating table – has so far made numerous achievements both on the battlefield and the political stage.
The talks have helped significantly decrease the violence gripping Syria by creating for de-escalation zone there. They have also paved the way for the formation of a constitutional committee.
This is while a parallel UN-backed peace process in Geneva, Switzerland, has failed to deliver any breakthrough.