And below in video: two eyewitness reports on Turkish invasion of Syria
MANBIJ, Syria – Clashes broke out on Thursday between the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Turkish-backed rebels in northern Syria. The clashes took place near Tal Amaranth village north of Manbij, about 7 kilometers from the town of Jarabulus.
SDF forces advanced towards Jarabulus city –earlier taken by Turkish-backed rebels– despite warnings by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden that Kurdish forces should pull back across the Euphrates, to maintain US support.
John Kerry tells Turkey foreign minister Çavusoglu that PYD/YPG is withdrawing to east of Euphrates, Hurriyet Daily News, Aug 25, 2016
‘We will not retreat to east of Euphrates’: YPG spokesman Redur Xelil, Kurdish Question, Aug 24, 2016
“The problem for the Kurds is that it is not geopolitically feasible through the rest of the Obama Administration,” Nicholas Heras, a Washington-based Middle East researcher at the Centre for a New American Security told ARA News. “Vice President Biden did not mince words, the SDF can retain U.S. support, but only by abiding by the terms of Washington’s NATO ally Turkey,” Heras said.
The clashes broke out after the Turkish-backed rebels –also known as the Euphrates Shield forces– continued to advance towards the el-Armarna village which was taken earlier today by SDF forces, according to local sources. The rebels ignored warning shots of SDF-forces, and as a result clashes broke out.
Battle for Jarabulus
In the meantime, the SDF-linked Jarabulus Military Council started its preparations to enter the Syrian border city of Jarabulus after the Turkey-backed rebel groups took over the city from ISIS. The area is expected to witness heavy fighting between the different factions in the coming days.
Local fighters of Jarabulus expressed their refusal to any occupation by neighbour countries to their hometown.
Jarabulus witnessed sporadic clashes between Turkey-backed Syrian rebels and ISIS on Wednesday morning [August 24]. Also, the Turkish army has bombed villages in the vicinity of Jarabulus, killing and wounding dozens of civilians, according to local sources.
Activists reported that ISIS has delivered Jarabulus city to the Turkey-backed rebels without any resistance. Speaking to ARA News, Ahmed al-Jadir, a member of the SDF-led Jarabulus Military Council, said: “We, as members of the Syrian Democratic Forces, will not allow some mercenaries to take over our city. We will liberate Jarabulus.”
“Those Turkey-backed rebels are no different from ISIS. We will free our people from all radical suppressive groups,” he said.
Muhammad Ahmed, an officer in the Jarabulus Military Council, told ARA News that ISIS has not shown any resistance to the Turkish troops and their allies when they entered Jarabulus city from the Turkish side of the border on Wednesday.
“We now consider our city occupied by Turkey and its mercenaries. The city of Jarabulus was exposed to heavy bombardment by the Turkish army, and we have not seen any resistance from ISIS against those troops. We are aware that ISIS militants have entered Turkey today after shaving their beards and dressing like Free Syrian Army,” he said.
“We, as a faction of the Syrian Democratic Forces, are waiting for the general command of the SDF to give orders to enter the city. We are ready.”
Two eyewitness video reports on Turkish invasion of Syria, on YouTube:
* Turkey storms city of Jarablus, ARA News, Aug 24, 2016 (three minute video report):
* ‘ISIS handed Jarablus over to Turkey’, ARA News, Aug 24 (three minute video report)
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