U.S. Special Operation Forces are helping the Syrian Kurdish police known as Asayish in their task to provide security to the newly liberated town of Manbij. Unfortunately, they are not allowed to give interviews. The Syrian town of Manbij had a pre-war population of around 100,000. Its inhabitants were mostly Sunni Arabs, but around 40.000 inhabitants were Kurds and the town had also a Christian minority.
During the Syrian civil war in 2013, the Sunni Arab jihadist groups, at the beginning FSA and al-Nusra, started a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Kurds and other minorities in Manbij, because they were perceived as “infidels”. This campaign of ethnic cleansing was followed by Daesh ‘ISIS‘ and eventually, the town became a Daesh stronghold and planning area for major terrorist attacks in Europe. Turkey wanted to preserve the demographic change (no Kurds in Manbij) and threatened to bomb Kurds if the Kurdish forces cross the Euphrates river to drive Daesh out of Manbij.
Finally, in June 2016, the Kurdish-led SDF supported by US-led coalition airstrikes launched an offensive to capture Manbij, and by June 8 had fully encircled the city. On 12 August the SDF had established full control over Manbij after a two-month battle. But on August 24, the Turkish army alongside jihadist Arab and Turkmen fighters linked to al-Qaeda crossed the Syria-Turkey border and attacked Syrian Kurds. More than 70 civilians, mostly children and women were killed in the Turkish bombardment of villages in the northern countryside of Manbij, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Eventually, the US called the Turkish attacks against Kurds and their moderate Arab and Turkmen allies “unacceptable” and a truce was reached. But Turkey said that it will continue its offensive in northern Syria until the Kurds are ethnically cleansed from the area. Moreover, Turkey’s president Erdogan said that Turkey has every right to annihilate Kurds in Syria and that no one has the right to tell Turkey to stop its attacks against Kurds, referring to the United States.
Meanwhile, Kurds have established a pluralistic democratic governance in Manbij where all minorities are represented and 50 % of the positions are held by women.
If you enjoyed this article, please consider supporting our Veteran Editorial by becoming a SOFREP subscriber. Click here to get 3 months of full ad-free access for only $1