Several regional and local powers, primarily the Turkish Occupying State, are seeking to occupy Manbij, owing to its strategic position on the map of the Syrian conflict and in the confluence of three areas, some occupied by Turkey and others by the Syrian Government, and the third under the protection of the Manbij Military Council’s forces, it also links the city of Al-Bab with the city of Raqqa, 30 km from the border point that connects Syria to Turkey.
Manbij recently returned to the front with an invitation made by head of the mercenary coalition, Nasr Hariri, to the President of the Turkish Occupation State, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to occupy Manbij, the official spokesman of the Manbij Military Council, Shervan Darwish, indicated in an interview with ANHA, that after the liberation Manbij City 5 years ago it has attracted many regional and international States among them ,Turkey, which has promoted to control Manbij, for which it has used many means to do so.
What happened in Manbij after the American withdrawal, and who’s protecting Manbij now?
For the time being, the actual force protecting Manbij are forces of the Manbij Military Council, but because of developments, particularly after the withdrawal of American and Global Coalition a military agreement was made to deploy regime forces to the front line alongside our forces, and there is also a Russian Coordination Center, Manbij fronts from the north to the northwest are points of contact with Turkish mercenary factions and the Turkish army, and there are many Turkish bases there. From the west to the south, there are front lines with regime forces where there have been no hostilities against mercenaries. From liberation to the present, there has been constant bombardment and clashes at a different frequency and this situation has recently escalated significantly. “
Manbij Military Council fighters destroyed a tank belonging to the Turkish occupation army on June 28th, in Al-Jat village, while it was advancing towards the villages under the protection of the Manbij Military Council forces. The village and the surrounding villages witnessed intense bombardment.
What is the importance of Manbij for the conflicting forces, Turkey, Russia and the Syrian Government?
Certainly, it has a very important strategic position in many military respects. It is a gateway to Aleppo and a strategic line on the international road. It has become a focal point between several forces with different agendas, every force seeks to control Manbij to strengthen its influence and role in the region in all respects. Although the Russian is considered as a guarantor state to many understandings and agreements that have been made, it is trying to serve the Syrian regime. It overlooks all actions by Turkey and its daily bombing of populated villages. The Russian position did not deter Turkey and its affiliated factions from targeting Manbij and its people.
What are the schemes that are being planned against the city?
After liberating Manbij City 5 years ago, the city has been exposed to several malicious schemes to be occupied, particularly by Turkey, that attempted to attack Manbij more than once, the first of which was several months after the liberation of the city from ISIS, where the attacks stopped after the agreement with the Russian side and the deployment of border guards in Al-Arima town. And these attempts, which are still ongoing, followed by different means, through bombings and attempts to create strife among the people.
Not only were those attempts by the Turkish side, but the Syrian regime that left the Manbij people at the mercy of the ISIS swords, but the people of Manbij City were able to join their hands with MMC and SDF to liberate the city from ISIS clutches because these forces sacrificed hundreds of martyrs in order to defeat terrorism as well as to preserve security and stability in the city.
After 10 years of war in Syria, destruction, displacement, sanctions, closure of crossing points, and the failure of the international community to play its role in protecting people, failure to fulfil its humanitarian role has made the situation difficult and complex. Manbij is part of Syria and suffers in every aspect, the proportion of suffering may vary from place to place, but the impact is on everyone and trying to exploit this suffering, but it’s exposed to everyone, Because the situation in the area controlled by the regime and occupied by Turkey is much worse than Manbij, therefore, the Syrian regime or others cannot exploit the situation to spread the chaos in the city, because of the awareness of its people.
How do you evaluate the recent Syrian Coalition statements calling for Turkey to occupy Manbij city?
Syrian Coalition, is a client bloc that has damaged the interests of Syrians through its approach. It is a group of mercenaries who operate under the supervision of Turkish State, they are traitors. Everyone knows that.
What is the position of the Civil Administration and the Manbij Military Council on everything that happens in Manbij?
People of Manbij and the administration have the right to seek to secure a decent living, secure the means of life, provide them with services and raise them together. Within five years, much progress has been made. But the overall Syrian situation is affecting Manbij as well. There are things that the Administration can work on better, but there are things beyond the capacity of the Administration, such as the cost, the blockade and the consequences of Caesar’s law.
Since the first day, there have been many debates and dialogues with all the sects of society in Manbij and its clans. I can say that the awareness and the sense of responsibility of the people, as well as of the civil administration, have been enough to overcome all the efforts of the parties that have sought to exploit the demands of the people for their own agendas and to try to destabilize them. All their previous attempts have failed and will fail this time, and there are still great efforts on the part of all to find solutions that suit all.