US denies reports of Syrian regime incursion in Manbij
Reports ‘inaccurate,' says US defense official
By Kasim Ileri
A U.S. defense official on Friday denied reports Syria's Bashar al-Assad regime forces entered Manbij.
Syrian state-run SANA news agency reported earlier in the day, regime forces entered the PYD/YPG terrorist-held city after the group invited forces to take control of the region and ward off an announced Turkish operation. Turkey sees the group an extension of PKK terrorist organization.
"The reports on regime incursion in Manbij are inaccurate," the official told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has signaled a cross-border operation against the terror group in Syria will soon take place. Since 2016, Ankara has carried out two similar military operations in northern Syria.
U.S. President Donald Trump last week made the surprise announcement that the U.S. would withdraw its troops from Syria.
Additionally, the US-led coalition said it has seen no indication confirming "true" claims regarding changes to military forces in Manbij.
"We call on everyone to respect the integrity of Manbij and the safety of its citizens," the coalition said on Twitter.
Erdogan also responded to reports of regime forces entering Manbij in coordination with the YPG/PKK terror group, saying the Assad regime is running a “psychological” operation.
"We know that Syria is in a psychological action. We know that there is a situation like waving their own [regime] flag there. But there is nothing definite there yet," said Erdogan.
*Servet Gunerigok contributed to the story
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