On anniversary of its liberation, how did Manbij change Syrian equation

 The liberation of the city of Manbij from ISIS mercenaries in August 2016 left its impact on the Syrian arena, given the city’s importance to the conflicting parties in Syria, and its being an influential and active center for foreign mercenaries, which constituted a strong blow to ISIS, while at the same time liberating the city accelerated its rollback operations.  ISIS and eliminating the schemes of the countries that support it.

 The operation to liberate the city of Manbij constituted a strategic victory, in cutting off the most important routes of ISIS between its stronghold in Raqqa and the Syrian abroad, passing through Turkish territory, and a major turning point in the war against the global threat with international participation.  It led to the destruction of the so-called "caliphate" of ISIS in Syria and Iraq in Baghouz.

 But after 6 years of liberation, the city is still facing the threat of the Turkish occupation, in light of the military buildup of its mercenaries, and an intelligence and media war pursued by Turkey against the Autonomous Administration.

 somnolent  location and demographics

 The city of Manbij is located on the international road M4, which connects the cities of the north, east and west of Syria to each other, 25 km from the west bank of the Euphrates, and 75 km from the city of Aleppo.

 Its population, according to the 2004 census of the Damascus government, was 100,000, but this number doubled after its liberation from ISIS by the forces of the Manbij Military Council in August 2016, after its displaced people returned to it, and it became a haven for Syrians fleeing from the horror of the war .

 The city of Manbij is inhabited by Arabs, Kurds, Circassians and Turkmens.

 The location of Manbij, which is in the middle of the cities of northern Syria, the passage of the international road through it, and the population density in it, and considering that it is a connecting point between the cities of the Syrian east and west, makes it of great importance on the Syrian arena.

 After the outbreak of the Syrian crisis, Manbij in late 2012 until mid-2016 witnessed a continuous change in the identity of the forces that controlled the city and its countryside.

The beginning was from the groups that called themselves the "Free Army", then Jabhat al-Nusra (currently Hayat Tahrir al-Sham), and the last of these forces was ISIS mercenaries who occupied Manbij for more than two and a half years, between 2014 and 2016.

 The lifeblood of ISIS

 On August 15, the Manbij Military Council forces announced the liberation of the city from ISIS with the support of the Syrian Democratic Forces. Its liberation and the defeat of ISIS there had a significant impact on the operations of fighting mercenaries in Syria and Iraq, for several reasons:

 Manbij was known as the "capital of foreigners", who are mercenaries coming from outside Syria and Iraq to join ISIS through Turkish territory.

 From Istanbul all the way to Dilok (Aentab) and then the Turkish-Syrian border, the city of Manbij was the gathering point for all those coming from abroad, from which they are distributed to the areas of ISIS occupation in Syria and from there to Iraq.

 But the defeat of ISIS by the Syrian Democratic Forces, including the People’s Protection Units and Women, thwarted these Turkish plans, especially in Manbij, as the defeat was pivotal. With the liberation of Manbij and its wresting from ISIS, the areas of ISIS occupation were separated from the Turkish borders, which have always been the refuge of mercenaries.  First, the equation changed in northern Syria, and the proxy war that Turkey fought did not bring the desired fruits.

 The occupation of Manbij by ISIS for a longer period meant that there would be more Turkish support for mercenaries and thus swallowing more Syrian and Iraqi lands, in addition to that, it meant the arrival of more foreigners, creating more dangers to the region.

 Turkish ambitions in Manbij;  Motives and goals

 Turkish support for ISIS logistically and morally was (and still is) apparent. ISIS “hostels” spread in Turkish cities and worked to attract mercenaries’ affiliates openly and in the eyes of the Turkish authorities and intelligence, and the Turkish borders were wide open to those who would join ISIS, as well as to shipments  Weapons, wounded mercenaries, and even oil shipments stolen from the wells of the Syrian Jazeera.

The Turkish support for ISIS across the border and the important location of Manbij gave the mercenaries great capabilities that helped it occupy large areas of Syria and Iraq and threaten the world, as well as committing massacres and genocide against the population in the areas it reached.

 Turkey used ISIS to destroy the Syrian structure from all sides, and it also directed its mercenaries to the areas that were liberated during the July 19 Revolution in Rojava, and the Autonomous Administration was declared in it.

 After the defeat of ISIS, Turkey itself intervened and occupied large areas of Syrian territory, and immediately began operations of demographic change in the cities of Jarablus, Al-Rai, Azaz, Al-Bab, Afrin, Girê Spî / Tal Abyad, Serêkaniyê / Ras Al-Ain.

 The Turkish endeavor to change the identity of the region and turn it into Turkish cities was clear from the beginning, which shows the danger of Turkish plans on Syrian lands, whose sovereignty has been violated and is threatened by division.

 In the midst of all this, Manbij is an important key for Turkey, as its geographical location that connects the cities of northwestern Syria to its northeastern, and its location on the M4 international road gives it a lot of importance and value to all the conflicting parties on Syrian territory.

 Turkey sees in the occupation of Manbij tightening the siege on the regions of northern and eastern Syria from the west, and suffocating them economically, and the large area of ​​the city allows Turkey more room for housing more Syrians who were previously displaced from their areas with Russian-Turkish deals, and thus Turkey will continue to complete the pillars of the demographic change project and settling  Syrian refugees in other than their areas.

 There is no doubt that occupying a large and densely populated city like Manbij will gain Turkey more power in the Syrian conflict.

Also, the first and last goal of Turkey today seems clear, as Turkey is striving to reach - as a first stage - the limits of the Milli Charter, and progress towards Manbij serves this goal, thus Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be able to complete the efforts to build a new Ottoman state.

 Today, Turkey is trying to re-establish what ISIS lost, and this naturally leads to the realization of the Turkish dream of expanding inside Syrian territory, expanding the occupied territories, and achieving the "Mille Charter".

 In its war, Turkey relies on mercenaries, many of whom were members and princes in the ranks of ISIS, and today their practices are not much different from ISIS, and even worsen with the passage of days.

 Reports from the Syrian areas occupied by Turkey show that killing, fighting, theft, looting, chaos, insecurity and instability have become daily scenes for the residents who remained in those areas.

 Turkey is trying to export this chaos to more other Syrian regions. Manbij is one of the Turkish goals. This will further complicate the Syrian scene, weaken the chances of a solution, and bring the crisis to a dead end.

 Despite the challenges, Manbij resists and perseveres

 Turkey tried hard to prevent the launch of the campaign to liberate Manbij, but it was the insistence of its people that won in the end. Therefore, the Turkish occupation state, after occupying the cities of Jarabulus and Al-Bab, two weeks after the liberation of Manbij, did not stop launching attacks on the villages of Manbij.

 Dozens of villages north and west of the city of Manbij are subjected to daily bombardment. Dozens of the residents of those villages have fallen as a result of the Turkish attacks. The defense lines of the Manbij Military Council have been subjected to hundreds of infiltration attempts, but all of them failed as a result of the defensive solidity that was established along the lines of contact with the occupied areas.

 Manbij's steadfastness in the face of Turkey for six years has proven the effectiveness of the resistance. The popular rejection in Manbij towards the Turkish occupation at the height of its power is considered a decisive factor in deterring Turkish ambitions.

 Turkey began months ago to mobilize more forces in the occupied areas, while continuing to threaten to occupy Manbij, and while Manbij is still resisting, its threat is considered a threat to the solution in Syria, and in an effort to restore the darkness that this city liberated itself from when it was liberated from ISIS, because the existing model  In the city, in terms of stability and management, it is considered an example that can be followed to solve the Syrian crisis.



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