Syrian Arab Army troops entered the northeastern Syrian city of Kobani, a stronghold of the Syrian Democratic Forces, late Wednesday, October 16 following days of speculation about the city’s future.
A military agreement between the SDF and Syrian regime announced on Sunday would see the SAA and Russian forces occupy key cities along the Syria-Turkey border in a bid to halt a Turkey-backed rebel advance.
Kobani, which lies to the east of the Euphrates river, is where Kurds in 2015 halted a bloody six-month Islamic State onslaught with the help of U.S. airstrikes.
The first batch of five buses of Syrian government forces have arrived in the city of Kobani. pic.twitter.com/MnyppTxlX0
— NORTH PRESS AGENCY (@NPA_SY) October 16, 2019
Turkey-backed Syrian rebels under the banner of the Syrian National Army began Operation Peace Spring on October 9 to clear the SDF from northeastern Syria. The move came two days after U.S. President Donald Trump announced Americans troops would pull back from the border area where they had been protecting the SDF from a Turkish invasion.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper has since said that all U.S. forces will withdraw from all of northeastern Syria, leaving only about 150 troops in the south at al-Tanf base.
The Syrian Army asserted full control over another critical city, Manbij, late Tuesday but has since withdrawn from the city, leaving the SDF-aligned Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria in control of civilian and political structures.