BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:30 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) should not be allowed to enter the city of Manbij in northeast Aleppo, the Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hami Aksoy said on Friday morning.
“The regime shouldn’t be allowed to enter Manbij,” Aksoy said, as quoted by the Yeni Safak publication.
Turkey has been actively pushing to force the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and their allies from Manbij, despite the fact that the group protecting the city are locals.
Aksoy did not specify why they shouldn’t be allowed to enter; however, Turkey has actively worked to prevent the Syrian military from seizing any border points over the last two years.
During the Syrian Arab Army’s large-scale offensive in the Latakia countryside in 2015 and 2016, Turkey actively aided the jihadist and rebel forces as the government pushed towards the dense forests along the border.
The Turkish military would later down a Russian Su-24 jet that was bombarding the jihadist rebels in the Latakia province.
In addition to attacking the Syrian Arab Army, the Turkish military has also set up observation posts across northwest Syria in an attempt to block the government from retaking areas back from the rebels.
The Syrian government has demanded that Turkey immediately withdraw from the country; however, Ankara insists that their presence is merely to “combat terrorists”.