FSA Commander: US, Turkey in Talks Over Turkish Military Operation in Manbij

© AFP 2022 / DELIL SOULEIMAN US-backed Kurdish and Arab fighters prepare a rocket-launcher as they advance into the Islamic State (IS) jihadist's group bastion of Manbij, in northern Syria (File)
US-backed Kurdish and Arab fighters prepare a rocket-launcher as they advance into the Islamic State (IS) jihadist's group bastion of Manbij, in northern Syria (File) - Sputnik International
Earlier, a Syrian Democratic Forces commander warned that the US would "retaliate against any assault on the city, regardless of who would launch this attack."

Ahmed Osman, commander of the Sultan Murad Brigade, part of the Free Syrian Army rebel militia taking part in the Turkish-led military operation in northern Syria, has confirmed to Sputnik that Turkish and US officials are in intense negotiations over the fate of the northern Syrian city of Manbij.

According to the commander, his forces are preparing for a possible offensive in the area. "We want to take Manbij without military action, on the basis of an agreement, but if an agreement is not reached, Turkey and the FSA will conduct a military operation," he said.

"We are ready for such a scenario. In the event of a military operation, Manbij will be taken significantly faster than Afrin, since it has a smaller civilian population and fewer Kurdish YPG militia formations. The only difficulty and problem with Manbij is the presence of the US military there," Osman added.

In this undated photo released Thursday, May 11, 2017, by Hawar News, the news agency for the semi-autonomous Kurdish areas in Syria, shows fighters from the Kurdish-led Syria Democratic Forces, patrolling on a street in Tabqa, northern Syria - Sputnik International
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Ebu Adil, commander-in-chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces' Manbij military council, confirmed that negotiations were underway, but added that no agreement has been reached.

"At the moment, no agreement between the US and Turkey on Manbij has been reached. If it was, the US military would not be increasing its presence in the region," the SDF commander said. 

"We regularly negotiate with US military representatives. They are saying that they do not intend to leave Manbij. For our part, we, as the representatives of Manbij's people, also have no plans to retreat. We will defend our city if it is attacked," Adil added. 

On Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed that Turkey's armed forces would "not give up on constricting terrorist organizations" in northern Syria, warning that the military was "ready for new missions."

Earlier, a SDF source presented Sputnik with evidence of a growing French military presence in Manbij. Last month, the SDF said that the US military had promised the Kurds that they would retaliate if anyone attacked the city.

Damascus skies erupt with anti-aircraft fire as the U.S. launches an attack on Syria targeting different parts of the Syrian capital Damascus, Syria, early Saturday, April 14, 2018. Syria's capital has been rocked by loud explosions that lit up the sky with heavy smoke as U.S. President Donald Trump announced airstrikes in retaliation for the country's alleged use of chemical weapons. - Sputnik International
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Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch against SDF-controlled areas in northern Syria in January 2018, and classes the Syrian Kurdish militia as terrorists. The US does not agree with this assessment.

Damascus has condemned both the Turkish and US military operations in the country, calling the deployments an illegal violation of Syria's territorial integrity.

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