Addressing the ongoing siege of the ISIS city of al-Bab, in northern Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the forces there intend to invade the nearby city of Manbijj next, reiterating his demands that the Kurds cede the city to his forces.
Backed by US airstrikes, the Kurdish YPG invaded and captured Manbij over the course of a multi-month offensive against ISIS. Turkey has warned the Kurds can’t be west of the Euphrates River, and Manbij is on the western shore of the river.
The YPG has promised to leave Manbij repeatedly, most recently last week, but there is no indication they are actually doing so. Local militias set up by the Kurds since they captured the city have also indicated they are opposed to Erdogan, suggesting Turkey won’t be welcomed into the city easily.
Turkey invaded Syria almost immediately after Manibj fell, seizing large swathes of ISIS territory along the border. With less and less ISIS territory to contest, Turkey is again eyeing Kurdish-held territory closely, particularly Manbij, and the fighting that has been feared since the invasion started could be close.
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