(ANTIWAR.COM) – Turkey-backed rebel fighters in Syria are gearing up for a major deployment into northeastern Syria, with an eye on replacing the US ground troops in the area. Turkey is planning to invade in the course of this replacement, and is coordinating with the US and the pullout and deployment.
President Trump has said the withdrawal will be “slow,” and there has been no public timetable on troop movements. The rebels in question, however, are moving closer to the city of Manbij, which Turkey has indicated will be the first target.
Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu addressed the situation in comments to reporters on Tuesday, saying that while the timeline of deployment may be related to coordination with the US, Turkey remains “determined” to expel the Kurds from Syria’s northeast.
Kurdish officials say that they are re-positioning their own forces in a plan to defend the area from invading Turkish and allied forces. The likelihood is that this will begin after the Manbij invasion, as few Kurds were believed to have remained in that city.