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US sets up new base in Syria's Manbij region after Turkish threats: SDF official

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This picture shows US forces at a new base in Manbij, Syria, on May 8, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

An official from the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militant group says US military forces established a new base in Syria's Kurdish-populated northern town of Manbij months after Turkish authorities threatened to attack the area in the fight against terrorists from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Sharfan Darwish, the spokesman for the so-called Manbij Military Council of the SDF, which is spearheaded by the YPG, said the new garrison also houses French troops.

“After the Turkish attack on Afrin and the increase in Turkish threats towards Manbij, coalition forces built the base to monitor and protect the border (between the combatants),” Darwish pointed out.

On April 6, Helil Bozi, the commander of the Military Council of Manbij, said the United States, together with Britain and France, had been setting up new outposts in northeastern Syria, regardless of an authorization from the Damascus government to have military presence on the Syrian soil.

“The United States and France have increased the number of their military in Manbij. British forces, too, had been deployed to the same territories,” Bozi said at the time.

He underlined that the increased presence was clearly a bid to counter a potential Turkish military offensive into Manbij.

Bozi added that the increased presence proved that the US had no intention of leaving the Kurdish-dominated territories in northern Syria — as demanded by Turkey.

Speaking in an interview with the official Anadolu news agency on March 22, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said his country’s armed forces would move to push US-backed Kurdish militants away from Manbij if it did not reach an agreement with Washington on a plan to remove them from the northern Syrian border town.

This picture shows US forces at a new base in Manbij, Syria, on May 8, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

“If this plan is not realized, the only option left will be clearing away terrorists. This is not just valid for Syria, but also for Iraq,” he said then.

Four killed, two dozen hurt in mortar attacks on Damascus

Meanwhile, four civilians have lost their lives and 24 others sustained injuries when foreign-sponsored Takfiri terrorists launched separate mortar attacks against residential areas in the central part of the Syrian capital city of Damascus.

This picture shows the aftermath of militant mortar attacks against residential areas in Syria’s capital city of Damascus on May 9, 2018. (Photo by SANA news agency)

An unnamed source at Damascus Police Command said the projectiles slammed onto al-Hamra Street as well as Maysat Square.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups that are wreaking havoc in the country.

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