Regime leader Bashar al Assad's forces claimed to have entered the northern city after the YPG terror group asked for regime's presence. But sources from Manbij told TRT World the regime forces have not entered the city.

Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army ride on trucks at Manbij countryside, Syria December 28, 2018.
Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army ride on trucks at Manbij countryside, Syria December 28, 2018. (Reuters)

The Syrian regime claimed on Friday that its forces entered the northern Syrian city of Manbij after the YPG terrorist group invited regime leader Bashar al Assad to shield them from a planned anti-terror operation by Turkey in the region.

However, sources from Manbij told TRT World  that the area is calm and that regime forces have not entered the city.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, some regime troops deployed on the outskirts of Manbij, are standing between the city's edge and Turkey's rebel allies.

TRT World's Yasin Eken reports. 

US denies reports of regime forces in Manbij

A US defence official on Friday denied the reports that Syrian regime forces entered Manbij.

"The reports on regime incursion in Manbij are inaccurate," the official told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Assad regime appeared to be running a 'psychological' operation around Manbij. 

He said Turkey's plan for the region was to teach terrorists a lesson, and that there was "no other job" for Turkey in Syria, once terror is defeated there.

"Turkey's goal is to teach YPG/PKK terror group a lesson, and we're determined to make it happen," Erdogan said in the wake of Friday's reports that regime troops were in the area.

Turkish delegation heads to Moscow

Turkey's defence ministry on Friday called on all parties to avoid any move that would increase instability in northern Syria.

"We warn all parties to stay away from provocative actions and rhetoric that will make the region more unstable," the ministry said in a statement.

The statement came after Damascus claimed its forces entered Manbij in coordination with the YPG/PKK terror group.

TRT World's Courtney Kealy is following the developments from New York. 

The YPG is the Syrian wing of the PKK, listed by Turkey, the US and EU as a terrorist organisation. It has been seeking support to prevent an expected anti-terror operation by Turkey.

In the wake of the reports about Manbij, the Kremlin welcomed the return of Assad's forces to the area.

Erdogan said a Turkish delegation heading to Moscow would discuss the issues. 

Last week, Turkey postponed its planned anti-terror operation east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria to coordinate with Washington while the US withdrew its troops from Syria.

Turkey said it would increase coordination with Russia.

Howitzers sent to the Syrian border

Turkey has sent military reinforcements to its southern Gaziantep province near the Syrian border on Saturday, according to an Anadolu Agency correspondent in the area. 

A military convoy carrying howitzers first arrived in Hatay province, then in Gaziantep as part of Turkey's recent military reinforcements ahead of a possible counter-terrorism operation in northern Syria. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies