Syrian Forces Move to Protect Syrian Kurds Fighting Islamic State by Nazih Osseiran – Wall Street Journal
Syrian government forces moved to protect Syrian Kurds who are fighting Islamic State after the U.S. said it would withdraw its troops from the region and the Syrian Kurds said they feared an attack by Turkey.
The Syrian Kurdish forces, known as the YPG and allies of the U.S., control the strategic city of Manbij in the northeast near Turkey’s border. In a statement Friday, it said it had asked the Syrian government to protect the area as it fears an imminent Turkish invasion while it is involved in fighting Islamic State elsewhere.
It wasn’t clear if Syrian government forces had already entered Manbij city on Friday afternoon. Syrian state media said the forces had raised the government’s flag in the center of the city, but a U.K.-based monitoring group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, and an administration official from the area said government troops had deployed just outside the city between YPG forces and Turkish-backed troops nearby.
U.S. forces operate in Manbij and have military bases in the area. They couldn’t be immediately reached for comment. U.S. forces are still conducting patrols both within the city and its surrounding airspace, the local official said.
The U.S. Central Command in the U.S. said via Twitter that it had seen no changes in military forces in Manbij city. “We call on everyone to respect the integrity of Manbij and the safety of its citizens,” it tweeted…