Tuesday, January 1

SouthFront throws cold water on happy talk about Syrian Army's arrival in Manbij

FARS reported today that the Syrian Army has surrounded Manbij to block the Turkish Army's advance but it looks like the advance is still on unless the Turks are engaging in performance art.

January 1, 2019
On December 30 and 31 reports appeared that Turkey had ordered their proxies deployed near the northern Syrian town of Manbij to end the state of emergency and withdraw from the frontline with the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
However, these reports gave no indication that real de-escalation has been observed so far. Furthermore, more and more Turkish battle tanks appear to be moving to the areas bordering the SDF-held part of Syria
Separately, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) came in with a new report claiming that Syrian Army troops have started withdrawing from positions north of Manbij where they have recently been deployed. If this is confirmed, the army withdrawal will open a new window for a possible Turkish military operation in the area.
It should be noted that a similar situation was observed during the battle for Afrin in 2018. Initially, Syrian Army troops entered the Afrin region with an aim to prevent a Turkish military operation. But the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) refused to allow the return of government institutions in the area and continued to make various demands on the Syrian government. Then the Syrian Army troops withdrew and the Turkish armed forces, backed by their proxies, captured the city of Afrin from the YPG.
 As to how things are going in Afrin these days:

Turkey go-fers have already picked the city so clean they can now cart away what's left by hand. Wait, guys, you missed some wires. 

Turkey-Backed Militants Continue Plundering Civilians' Assets in Northern Syria
January 1, 2019

TEHRAN (FNA)- Ankara-backed militants continue looting people's assets in occupied Afrin region in Northwestern Aleppo, a Kurdish media outlet reported on Tuesday.

Xeber 24 news website quoted local sources as reporting that the Ankara-backed militants have stolen a large volume of Afrin residents' olive products and assets.

It further added that the militants have stolen almost 2,000 barrels of olive oil along with one and a half million Syrian lira from the residents of the village of Karku in Ma'abatli region in Northwestern Aleppo.

The news website went on to say that over 30 members of the Ankara-backed National Army have raided the village and looted the assets and agricultural products, adding that the militants further transferred the stolen products to Turkey via Rajou road.

The Kurdish-language Hawar news reported in October that governor of Turkey's Hatay called on Ankara-backed militants in Afrin in Northwestern Aleppo to hand over the entire olive crops to the Turkish province.

In the meantime, Salah Ibo, the deputy head of Afrin Agriculture Department, said that Ankara intended to steal $100 mln of Afrin residents' agricultural products.

Also, Hawar news went on to say that terrorists of Ahrar al-Shamiyah and Tajamo'a Adl, both affiliated to the Turkish army, have started fierce clashes in the village of Qajomo in Jandaris region over the distribution of looted olive products.

It added that residents in Jandaris are now allowed to step onto their farms after the Ankara forces seized their lands. 

[Pundita Note: I think Hawar News means "not" allowed.]



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