TEHRAN (Press Shia) – The Syrian army hoisted the country's national flag over Manbij after it entered the key northern city for the first time in six years.
The Syrian military announced Friday that it have raised the national flag of Syria in Manbij right after Kurdish militia decided to leave the area.
Meanwhile, videos of the army raising the national flag over a building in central part of the city appeared on social media pages of pro-government activists on Twitter.
Earlier today, the Syrian Kurdish YPG troops called on the government of President Bashar al-Assad to take control of Manbij to protect the town from the threat of Turkish attacks.
Damascus responded with a statement, which said government forces were already entering the city.
“Considering the Arab Army’s duty and in a response to a call by the people of Manbij, the Syrian general staff announces that the Army has entered Manbij and raised the flag of the Syrian Arab Republic there,” the statement cited by Syrian media said.
The statement added that the army is determined to “crush terrorism and defeat all invaders and occupiers” and to provide security for all Syrian citizens.
The development comes after the US, an ally of the Kurds for the past several years, decided to withdraw its troops from Kurd-controlled areas in Syria. The withdrawal came after Ankara complained about the presence of the YPG fighters near its border.
The YPG, which Turkey regards as a terrorist group and has vowed to crush, said its fighters had previously withdrawn from Manbij to fight Daesh (also known as ISIL) in eastern Syria.
After the US said it would be pulling out of northern Syria, Turkey amassed its forces near border with Syria but refrained from launching the promised offensive. American troops are still deployed along the border, which may be the reason why hostilities have not broken out immediately.