Russia replaces US in northern Syria
Russian and Syrian national flags flutter on military vehicles near Manbij, Syria October 15, 2019. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
Now in its seventh day, Turkey’s offensive against Kurdish fighters has upended alliances and is re-drawing the map of northern Syria for yet another time in the 8-year-old war.
Russia moved quickly to further entrench its role as a power broker after President Donald Trump ordered the pullout of American forces in northeastern Syria. The American move effectively abandoned the Kurdish fighters who were allied with the U.S. and cleared the way for Turkey’s invasion aimed at crushing them.
Syrian troops waved flags in the streets after they rolled into Manbij, a flashpoint town west of the Euphrates River that Turkey had been aiming to capture and wrest from Kurdish control. Video by Russian journalists with the troops showed what appeared to be an abandoned outpost where U.S. forces had been stationed.