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Will Turkey attack Kurds in Manbij or move on to Raqqa?

Now that the Syrian army has blocked the road from al-Bab to Raqqa, Turkey may instead assault Manbij, which won’t be easy.
Fighters of the Manbij military council, allied to Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), take an overwatch position in the southern rural area of Manbij, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria June 1, 2016. REUTERS/Rodi Said/File Photo - RTX2ONCT

As US President Donald Trump is deciding who he wants to be involved alongside the United States in the operation to take Raqqa, Syria, from the Islamic State (IS), all the players on the Syrian stage are struggling to grab the most advantageous position. Meanwhile, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is benefiting from a perceptible increase in US military support, is advancing to the north and northeast of Raqqa.

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), supported by Turkmen and Islamist militias it has recruited, finally entered al-Bab on Feb. 23 when IS appeared to have withdrawn. The Syrian army, in a move that eliminated Turkey’s intended route to Raqqa, blocked the corridor between Manbij — where the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) support the local military council — and the area controlled by the Syrian army northeast of Aleppo.

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