The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are to hand over a massive section of their territory west of Manbij to the Syrian Arab Army in order to create a buffer zone against the Turkish Army and Turkey-led forces in northern Syria. The map above is an initial estimate of the area which will be handed over to pro-government forces and not official.
In recent days the Euphrates Shield operations room (a coalition of Turkey-led armed Islamist groups, backed by the Turkish Armed Forces) has launched an offensive against the the SDF in order to capture the strategic crossroads city of Manbij.
The ferocity of the new Euphrates Shield offensive against the SDF has incited the Manbij Military Council (MMC) to consider a local military cooperation agreement with the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) which includes pro-government access to SDF territories in northern Syria.
The MMC has released the following statement on this decision:
“To reach these objectives [the defense of Manbij] we have transferred, after reaching a new alliance with Russia, the defence of the line to the west of Manbij – where the villages between us and the gang groups [FSA, Ahrar al-Sham] affiliated to the Turkish army are – to Syrian state forces.”
The area being handed over to the Syrian Arab Army will serve just as much as a political buffer zone as a military one. The true nature of the Erdogan regime’s ambitions in Syria will soon be revealed to the world based on whether it chooses to attack government-held areas or not. By choosing to commit to an offensive against pro-government forces, the Erdogan regime will demonstrate that it pursues an imperialist agenda in Syria in direct violation of the territorial sovereignty of that country and against the wishes of its legitimate government.