The U.S. military will hand over the Syrian city of Manbij to Russian forces as Turkey attempts to gain control of the city, according to Newsweek.
A senior Pentagon official told the publication that the American armed forces, “having been in the area for longer, has been assisting the Russian forces to navigate through previously unsafe areas quickly.”
The U.S. was slated to vacate Manbij within 24 hours on Monday, “leaving the mostly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces behind as two rival factions—the Syrian government, backed by Russia and Iran, and the Turkey-backed Syrian insurgents opposed to it—sought to seize control of the strategic location.”
The Pentagon official told Newsweek that what is taking place is “essentially a handover,” adding, “However, it’s a quick out, not something that will include walk-throughs, etc., everything is about making out with as much as possible of our things while destroying any sensitive equipment that cannot be moved.”
Stability that existed in the area just two weeks ago is now gone, after President Donald Trump decided to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria ahead of Turkey’s planned incursion.
He has threatened economic sanctions against Turkey if President Recep Tayyip Erdogan crosses an undefined line, but so far no sanctions have been imposed.