By Mohamad Misto, Levent Tok and Selen Temizer
MANBIJ, Syria / ANKARA, Turkey
The U.S. is setting up two bases in Syria’s northern Manbij region, currently occupied by YPG/PKK terrorists, Anadolu Agency learned on Tuesday.
The U.S. is extending an observatory in Dadat village, northern Manbij, in order to build a base, according to information received from trustworthy local sources in Manbij.
Construction materials and heavy equipments have already been transported to southeast of the village.
The base will be located eight kilometers (4.9 miles) from Sajur River, which forms the frontline between Jarabulus, the Euphrates Shield area, and Manbij, the YPG/PKK invaded area.
The other base is being built four km (2.4 mi) from the frontline, south of Dadat.
U.S.-backed groups are staying in a farm named "Nuaymiyah" and are engaged in constructing and planning of the base.
When completed, this will be the closest U.S. base to the Euphrates Shield forces, which liberated parts of northern Syria during an operation led by Turkey from August 2016 to March 2017.
US sends reinforcements to Manbij
On Sunday, the U.S. deployed military reinforcements to northern Manbij, reacting against a possible counter-terror operation led by Turkey in the region.
Approximately 300 U.S. soldiers arrived in Manbij in a convoy, which included many armored vehicles and construction machines.
The additional troops have started patrolling Sajur River shore daily. Previously, the patrols occurred weekly.
Currently, there are three U.S. observation points in the opposition held Euphrates Shield region border zone.
Manbij district of Aleppo province was invaded by YPG/PKK terror group in Aug. 2016 with U.S. support.
Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 to clear terrorist groups from Afrin, northwestern Syria, amid growing threats from the region.
On March 18, Turkish-backed troops liberated the town of Afrin, a major hideout for the terrorist organization PYD/PKK since 2012.
Possible operation in Manbij
Ankara said it might also extend its operation further east to Manbij unless the PYD/PKK terrorist group leaves the strategically located city.
However, U.S. military support for the terrorist PYD/PKK group in Manbij has strained ties between Ankara and Washington and has led to fears of potential clashes on the ground between troops of the two NATO allies. There are roughly 2,000 U.S. troops in the city.
Turkey and the U.S. have established working groups to discuss the stabilization of Manbij and to prevent any undesirable clashes.
But due to the abrupt departure of former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who helped establish the working groups, the future of Manbij remains uncertain.
The U.S. has supported the YPG/PKK under the name of SDF, which Ankara considers the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror organization.
The PKK has fought a 33-year war against Turkey that has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths, including those of women and children.