AL-BAB, Syria (Kurdistan24) – Units belonging to the Syrian army ranks on Monday disclosed their mission in Syria’s northwest areas between Manbij and al-Bab which was liberated by the Kurdish-led forces and handed over to the Syrian army.
Kurdistan24 team in Syria’s Kurdish areas (Rojava) interviewed officers and soldiers in a village recently surrendered to the Syrian army.
Mihemed Salhab, a Syrian army lieutenant heading units in the village of Hmeira between Manbij and al-Bab, told Kurdistan24 they made an agreement with the Manbij Military Council (MMC), an ally to the Kurdish-led, US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
“We, units from the Syrian Army, are spread over these villages to enforce the ceasefire, though it was breached many times by the other side [Turkish-backed Syrian rebels],” he said.
“But we are determined not to react to their violations,” Salhab said.
Salhab confirmed they were handed about six villages east to al-Bab town from the Kurdish-led forces.
On the reasons the Kurdish-led forces handed over the above-mentioned areas to the Syrian army, a Syrian Kurdish official who spoke to Kurdistan24 on condition of anonymity said it was to protect Manbij from the attacks of Turkish-backed Syrian rebels coming from al-Bab.
“Raqqa battle was disturbed many times because of the Turkish-backed attacks on our areas, so we handed those areas to carry on the offensive against Daesh [IS],” the source said.
The SDF and their allied coalition of MMC fighters launched the Manbij operation on May 31, 2016 and liberated the town fully in last August after a two-month battle.
However, the Turkish-backed Syrian rebels launched an operation, dubbed Euphrates Shield, on Syria’s northern areas of Jarabulus and al-Bab last August to fight IS, but in the meantime attacked Manbij’s liberated areas many times.
A few weeks ago, the area between Manbij and al-Bab witnessed heavy fighting between the MMC and the Turkish-backed Syrian rebels.
The rebels stopped their attacks on Manbij after the Syrian army controlled those areas.
(Kurdistan24 correspondent Redwan Bezar conducted the interviews in the outskirts of Al-Bab)
Editing by Ava Homa