Syrian army enters key northern city after 6 years

09:44 PM | 28 Dec, 2018
Syrian army enters key northern city after 6 years
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BEIRUT – The Syrian army entered the key northern city of Manbij for the first time in six years on Friday, a spokesman said in a televised statement.

The announcement came moments after the Kurds, left exposed by a US pledge to pull out its own troops, asked for the regime's help to face a threatened Turkish offensive.

The Syrian army spokesman said the national flag was raised in Manbij , a key city which lies about 30 kilometres south of the Turkish border.

The People's Protection Units (YPG), the main Kurdish militia in Syria , made its appeal following a shock announcement by its US ally last week of a full troop withdrawal from Syria .

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The YPG asked government forces to deploy in areas it already withdrew from earlier this year, especially the Manbij area, a key city where US-led coalition forces are stationed.

"We invite the Syrian government forces... to assert control over the areas our forces have withdrawn from, in particularly Manbij , and to protect these areas against a Turkish invasion," the statement said.

Kurdish fighters still based there are part of the coalition-backed Syrian Democratic Forces alliance battling the Islamic State militant group.