According to Kurdish Media,French special forces are in Syria advising Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the battle for Manbij.
As it has been referred by the French defence ministry last week The offensive at Manbij is clearly being backed by a certain number of states including France. It’s the usual support – it’s advisory and We are providing support through weapons supplies, air presence, and advice without giving further details on the deployment.
Rudaw the Kurdish journal online says that the French are providing weapons and military advice to the SDF, a coalition of forces in northern Syria. However, the French forces are under order to not engage in combat with Islamic State militants.
France has some 150 special forces (US has 300 units) in the Kurdistan Region, again in an advise and assist role with the Peshmerga on the frontlines around Mosul. They are training the Peshmerga to locate and disarm improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The French have also provided weapons for the Peshmerga, along with specific training on those weapons, 20-millimetre guns.
Meanwhile, hundreds of civilians escaped from Manbij on the 12th of June according to Al-Arabiya. At least 69 ISIS fighters were killed in renewed clashes with SDF near Manbij.
According to senior Kurdish official Ilham Ahmed , co-head of the Syrian Democratic Council speaking to Ara News, “Manbij is now surrounded, and the civilians now appeal to the SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces] to come and finish the oppression of ISIS.” Another officia said that there were still 10,000 to 20,000 civilians inside Manbij the 12th of June, and there were more than 2,000 ISIS fighters. If the syrian forces enter Manbij now, they will lose a lot of fighters.
France Better Use These Forces at Home While It Hosts European Football Cup
However, Middle East expert Abdel Bari Atwan is convinced that this move might turn out to be a counterproductive one and serve no good to France itself. “I was surprised by the news about the deployment,” he said in an interview with RT.“First, why the French special forces,” he questioned. “Secondly, why now?”“I think that the move might turn out to be counterproductive and serve no good to France, which is currently hosting the European Football Cup.
He also suggested that the French might want to look involved in the military successes in Syria, which are currently owed to the Syrians, Russians and Iranians.The expert also added that he does not see any sense in the move as it is already too late.
‘It is All About Division of Syria’
Semyon Bagdasarov, Director of the Moscow-based Center for Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies is convinced that the move will lead to the division of Syria.
“The French now want to settle in Syria, and the simplest way is to do it in the north-east of the country, together with the Americans,” he said in an interview with Svobodnaya Pressa.
The expert also noted that in March the Kurds announced the creation of a federal region in the north of Syria. They also set up a council which united not only the Kurds, but also Arabs, Assyrians, Christians and Turkmen.
“It is a typical western vision of democracy – to unite everyone. What it will lead to, is another question, but, without any doubt, it is all about the division of Syria,” he said.
He also stressed that taking into consideration the interest of Turkey in the north-west of the country – near the city of Azaz and near Aleppo – Ankara was given the freedom of action, so to say, if the Turks with the help of rebels and their special forces can take Aleppo under its full control, this quasi-state will remain in their domain. The rest of the territory will be controlled by Damascus.
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— شبكة الثورة السورية (@RevolutionSyria) 12 juin 2016