As Turkey’s incursion into Kurdish-controlled Syria enters its ninth day, the Kurdish group of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) vowed to protect the town of Sari Kani, also known in Arabic as Ras al-Ain, on Tuesday following the capture of Turkish vehicles near a US base in Hasakah province, northern Syria.
A YPG fighter displaying the Turkish armed vehicle vowed that they will stand their ground in the face of Turkish attacks.
“ Let the mercenaries of the Turks, of Erdogan, and everyone know that no one can defeat the YPG” the YPG fighter, who declined to give his name, told Rudaw TV. “Let them know we are the people who are on the just side. We are protecting our country.”
“We will sacrifice ourselves for our land. We will sacrifice ourselves for Rojava,” he added, using the Kurdish name for northeast Syria. The soldier called their soldiers an “Apoci force,” referring to the nickname of jailed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) founder Abdullah Ocalan.
Since then, US troops have pulled out of their bases in Manbij, and Syrian regime and Russian troops have already arrived in the city. Russia’s military police held its first patrol in Manbij on Wednesday, according to Russian news agency TASS. Previously, US troops held joint patrols with Turkish troops in the city.
“We have patrolled the city streets for the first time. When the Russian flag appears, combat stops – neither Turks nor Kurds want to harm us, so fighting stops thanks to our work,” Safar Safarov, Russia’s military police officer in Syria, told reporters on Wednesday.
“One week ago, we could not just enter Manbij openly, showing the flag, as US servicemen from the two military bases always stopped and intercepted us on the road because of different understandings of responsibility zones,” he said. “Last week, we blocked each other on the road three times.”
“We will continue controlling our zone of responsibility. Our main task is to ensure the security of the population in case of shellings from any side.” Safarov added. “This is not our first task in this zone. We have been here for more than half a year already, and we did not have any problems with anyone.”
As for other fronts in the north, Turkish forces and their Syrian opposition groups were not able to make advances on Tuesday. According to the UK-based war monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a three-pronged attack from the north, east and west against the Kurdish border town Sari Kani failed.
The Turkish Operation is stalling, and no major gains have been made. Besides the border town of Tel Abyad, which was captured last Monday, no major towns have been captured.
The border town, which was fully re-captured by Kurdish forces later on Tuesday, is subject to continued clashes. On Wednesday, fierce Turkish airstrikes and shelling have been reported.
Kurdish forces have been making use ofa system of tunnels they have constructed beneath Sari Kani to mount successful counterattacks and defenses.
Clashes in Ain Issa, where an ISIS camp has seenprisoners and ISIS families escaping, also saw action. According to SOHR, Syrian regime troops stationed nearby, which have returned to some of the Kurdish-controlled areas following a deal with the Kurds, shelled positions of Turkish-backed groups.