Russia on Tuesday said it has filled the void left by the withdrawal of US troops in northern Syria and its units are acting as a buffer to prevent clashes between Syrian government fighters and the Turkish military.
The Russian Defense Ministry said military police were patrolling “the northwestern borders of Manbij district along the line of contact of the Syrian Arab Republic military and the Turkish military.”
The US-led coalition that had been in Manbij under a longstanding alliance with Turkey pulled its forces on Tuesday as the Syrian army entered the city.
“Coalition forces are executing a deliberate withdrawal from northeast Syria. We are out of Manbij,” Col. Myles B. Caggins, spokesman for the Operation Inherent Resolve, said in a tweet.
“No one is interested” in allowing Syrian government and Turkish forces to fight each other, said Alexander Lavrentyev, Russia’s envoy for Syria.
Russia “is not going to allow it,” he said, according to Russian state media.
Kurdish fighters, who had fought alongside the US military to defeat Islamic State terrorists, struck a deal with Russia and the Syrian government, which Moscow backs, for protection from Turkey’s invasion of Syria.
President Trump told Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week that he would move US troops out of the way, giving Turkey the green light to launch a military operation against the Kurds.
Trump on Monday announced sanctions against Turkey for the incursion and canceled a $100 billion trade deal.
With Post wires
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