Ahmad Zakariya – Exclusively for Horrya Press:
Community sources from the city of “Manbej” to the east of Aleppo, which is controlled by the “People’s Protection Units” Kurdish militia, stated that a “Saudi military mission” has arrived in Manbej city on Friday, and met the military council of the Kurdish forces that control the city. This step represents the first of its kind, as no Arabian country has directly intervened in Syria before.
This visit has raised many questions, owing to the fact that it took place after the American declarations on planning to spread checkpoints in the Syrian North.
The organization of “Sawt Wa Sowra” informed Horrya press that the United States of America has established a checkpoint in “Tall Abyad”, a border area with Turkey. The director of the organization, Mr. Mohammad Al-Khader, announced that: “The USA has established a checkpoint in the area of “Tall Abyad” In Al-Raqqa province, in agreement with Turkey.
Mr. Al-Khader added that the goal of establishing the checkpoint is withdrawing “QSD” militia from the borders with Turkey, to prevent any friction between the two parties, as the Turkish artillery has targeted the city of Tall Abyad more than once, due to the presence of the terrorist party “PKK”, which led the USA to establish that checkpoint in the process of resolving the conflict between the two parties, and avoiding the Turkish attacks on the area, affirming that this checkpoint is not the first, and that it is not going to be the last one.
The US Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis, stated on Wednesday, that “The USA will establish checkpoints on the northern borders of Syria, due to the Turkish concern about the terrorist threat that comes from Syria, clarifying that the USA will take this decision in cooperation with Turkey”.
However, Turkey has denounced the mentioned American plan and expressed its disquiet at it. The Turkish Secretary of Defense, Hulusi Akar, stated to Anadolu Agency that these proceedings make matters further complicated and that Turkey has told the US counterparts about the Turkish lack of consent concerning the plan more than once.
Saudi and Emirati Forces in Al-Rmeilan
An insider source that is close to the International Alliance announced to Horrya Press news on a Saudi-Emirati visit to the city of Manbej, clarifying that the visit aimed at discussing the enforcement of a buffer zone between Turkey and “QSD” militia.
The source, who preferred not to mention his name, asserted the Saudi- Emirati forces’ visit to the Syrian lands, pointing out that those forces have not spread in the area, as they are still located in Rmeilan Base, to the north of Al-Hasakeh.
The same source also added that “Turkey has about 40km green belt of borderlands in the Syrian depth, to be controlled by the Free Syrian Army in the first place, and then the Gulf forces that will be located in the buffer zone between Turkey and QSD.
The source close to the International Alliance mentioned that the USA will deploy surveillance cameras over Zor Mghar (Al-Shyookh) to the north of Jrablus, and Qameshli, to avoid any friction between QSD and Turkey, in addition to Suadi & Emirati forces that will be deployed near Tall tamer to the north of Hasakeh to take part in border control, clarifying that the Saudi- Emirati visit is connected to this American step.
Saudi-Emirati Cooperation with Manbej’s Military Council
In affirmation of that information, the political activist, Abu Al-Abed Manbajawi, reported that a number of officers from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have arrived in the city of Manbej at the request of the International Alliance led by the USA.
Manbajawi told Horrya Press that the Arabian military delegation accompanied by American military leaders have visited the military council of Majbej, which is controlled by QDS and the Legislative Council of the Arabian Cultural Center in Manbej, noting that their meeting in the center has lasted for about three hours, yet the reasons of the visit are not known yet. After the visit, the delegation moved to the US military base in Sadd Teshrine.
For his part, Manbajawi believes that the Saudi- Emirati visit was part of the American plan that aims at disrupting the project for protecting the Turkish southern borders from the Kurdish expansion, which is supported by the terrorist classified party “People’s Protection Units” that is the reason behind the Turkish attempts to drive it out of the Syrian north, and to secure a buffer zone that enable Turkey from protecting its borders and its national security.
Manbajawi resumed by mentioning that the Arabian forces visited the city of Manbej to meet QSD’s military council and start the military alliance between the two parties. Bear in mind that Manbej’s military council was the first military force that allied with the USA to end ISIS presence in the area, this is the reason behind starting this visit from the city of Manbej, moving afterward to the other areas that will be controlled by these forces, which will be handed over to them on the Turkish- Syrian borders during the coming days.
A Low- Profile Visit and Saudi Arabia Denies
Regardless of those leaks, QSD’s media have not mentioned the visit or any of its details, which raised many questions about nature if this visit.
The media activist, Fawwaz Shallal, from the city of Manbej, declared to Horrya Press that QSD’s media did not address the visit, despite its desperate need to make use of it in media. Shallal noted that many sources affirmed the news on the Saudi- Emirati military delegation to Manbej, and meeting with QSD’s military council inside the city.
Meanwhile, the Suadi embassy in Turkey issued a statement on the 26th of November, in which it denied the news on the presence of Saudi forces in Syria. Horrya press examined a copy of the statement, which stated: “Some websites and other media means circulated news on the presence of Saudi military forces in the northeast of Syria. However, the embassy asserts that this news is baseless, as there is no presence for the Saudi military forces in Syria.”
Political Messages to Turkey and the Role of the Delegation is Advisory
In the past January, the USA and Turkey reached an agreement on the city of Manbej, which provides for the People’s Protection Units’ withdrawal from the area and hand it over to the people of Manbej, but the enforcement of the agreement’s provisions is slow, pointing out that the procrastination is from the US party, according to observers.
In this context, the political activist, Qahtan Abdul-Jabbar, informed Horrya Press that these passed days witnessed many imputes on a military project targeting the People’s Protection Units located in the eastern Euphrates area such as Ein Al-Arab, Tall Abyad, and Ras Al-Ain. Abdul-Jabbar declared that he categorically expects a military project that would possibly lead to establishing a buffer zone on the borders.
Abdul-Jabbar added that the mentioned buffer zone will have political and military consequences, including the withdrawal of the PKK militia, due to lacking a grassroots base at Manbej, add to that the possibility of losing connection between the areas controlled by those militias, in case of intervening the border area by the Turkish army, such intervention will inevitably lead to withdrawing from the city of Manbej.
Abdul-Jabbar continued as he pointed out that American pressure on Turkey resulted in the postponement of the project until finishing the battle against ISIS in Hajein area, the last site controlled by ISIS in eastern Deir Al-Zour. Clearly, the International Alliance supports the People’s Protection Units’ militia in this regard.
Regarding the Saudi-Emirati military delegation’s visit to the city of Manbej, Abdul-Jabbar said that his sources assured that a delegation of Saudi and Emirati military officers arrived in Manbej, accompanied by an American Column. Abdul-Jabbar explained that the reason behind the visit is to send political messages to Turkey, since Turkey and Saudi Arabia are having some conflicts, whilst the American administration supports the Saudi and Emirati parties in this regard.
Abdul-Jabbar presumes that the role of the Saudi- Emirati military delegation will be limited to military advising, and sending political messages, especially to Turkey. In addition to that, the delegation is responsible of legitimatizing the presence of People’s Protection’s Units in the areas in which it does not enjoy any legitimacy, due to the violations it committed against the city and the other areas under its control, perceiving that there is a clear political endeavor to legitimatize such militias.
Abdul-Jabbar mentioned that Syria in general has become an international conflict zone, especially in the areas of Manbej and East of Euphrates, whereas military consultants of Saudi and Emirati officers are located in Al-Raqqa, Deir Al-Zor and other areas, except for Manbej that that did not witness any Arabian military presence in the city, until the past Friday, when the delegation visited it, pointing out that there are American, German, Canadian, French, Dutch, and Belgian consultants in Manbej. The city has become an international conflict zone, which it did not experience before, and this case may be one of the most important and complicated cases on the Syrian scene, according to Abdul-Jabbar.
Abdul-Jabbar concluded by drawing the attention to a phase of instability that the Manbej area will go through, caused by the presence of such military delegations, expressing his belief that Turkey will have a crucial role in this regard, and that the world might witness a military commission in Manbej or East of Euphrates by the end of winter.
Translate by: Zainab Samara