On Twitter and in a press conference, the US military has confirmed deployment of an armored convoy to the disputed northern Syrian town of Manbij. In an unusual move, it also authorized the release of a video depicting the convoy and its men. Both events took place yesterday, on Monday, 6 March 2017.
Video shows US troops rolling into Manbij, Syria. Article continues below.
US Colonel John Dorrian is the military spokesman who published two tweets about the deployment. In them, he said that it was a "deliberate action." Its purpose, he clarified, was to assure US-led coalition forces in Syria that intends "to deter aggression and keep focus on defeating #ISIS." Dorrian is the spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, a US-led coalition against the terror group, Islamic State, also known as ISIS.
Speaking at press conference on the same day the tweets were released, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis told reporters that the US-led coalition was aware of the location of Russian-backed Syrian forces. As reported by Russia's English news agency, Sputnik News, Davis told reporters that Moscow-backed Syrian forces...
..."are certainly aware of where we are, and we are aware of where they are. There is no intention between the two of there being any conflict against any party other than ISIS.”
Military sources to the Israeli intelligence news service DEBKAfile, report that the US armored force in Manbij has landed in the middle of a complicated crisis. Last year, Manbij was captured from ISIS by a mixed Kurdish-Syrian Arab force — with US air and military support.
A few days earlier, the Kurdish YPG militia handed over some of the villages and military positions around Manbij — to Russian and Syrian army units.
As reported yesterday, the move indicated a ramped-up Russian-Iranian military cooperation in Syria, in the absence of American moves.
Now, however, just as Russian units geared up to enter Manjib, the Trump administration has warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that if those units move in, they will face American forces.
Notably, this is the Trump administration's first direct military action in Syria. In addition to fighting ISIS, another apparent purpose is to cut off the expansion of Russian forces in the North.
How does this impact Israel?
DEBKA's sources indicate that yesterday afternoon Trump phoned Prime Minister Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The subject of that call almost certainly dealt with the possibility of a US-Russian military clash in Manbij, two days before Netanyahu departs to Moscow for talks with Russian president Vladimir Putin scheduled for this coming Thursday, 9 March 2017.
This report is based on an article authored by DEBKAfile at http://debka.com/article/25953/US-armored-column-at-Manbij-to-block-Russians