Turkey Presses Southward in Syria as Forces Loyal to Assad Move North
Tuesday saw Turkish troops and Syrian militiamen backed by Ankara continue their sweep of a 20-mile-wide strip of land just inside Syria despite economic sanctions imposed by the Trump Administration, and loud displeasure expressed by European leaders. The Turks and their Syrian allies are seeking to remove a Kurdish militia that has been holding the area since control was wrested back from Islamic State earlier this year. Ankara accuses the militia of being a close ally of Turkish Kurds who have been seeking autonomy in a bloody, decades-long fight. Also on Tuesday, Syrian government troops entered Manbij, a local city of 100,000 that was just evacuated by US forces. The Turks and their allies had arrived on the city’s outskirts the day before, and it is said that the appearance of Syrian troops could now put Manbij out of bounds for the Turkish sweep.