Five mercenaries have been killed in an attempted infiltration into positions held by the Manbij Military Council, including a local leader of the mercenary groups.
Five Turkish-backed mercenaries were killed on Monday during a prevented infiltration into the positions of the Manbij Military Council (MMC). The military council's press office said in a statement that those killed include Mustafa Mahmoud Haj Ibrahim, leader of the "First Coastal Division", which used to belong to the so-called FSA and has been part of the mercenary force "Syrian National Army" (SNA) founded by Turkey since the invasion of Serêkaniyê and Girê Spî in October 2019.
On Monday morning, the mercenaries attempted to enter the village of al-Gat in the northeast of Manbij and overrun defense posts of the military council. This was followed by fighting with MMC fighters. Parallel to the infiltration attempt, the surrounding area of al-Gat and other villages along the Sajur River came under artillery fire from the occupation forces. Around a hundred mortar shells had hit residential areas near Manbij and the neighboring city of al-Bab, including Hawsria, Umm Lens Sayada, Yilanli, Ereb Hassan, Kawakli, Buwayjj, Houti and Aoun al-Datat. The Syrian regime's forces did not respond to the attacks by Turkish-backed mercenaries, the military council said.
The strategic importance of Manbij
Like Ain Issa, Manbij is of symbolic and strategic importance to Turkey. Since November, attacks on both regions have taken on increasingly violent proportions. Manbij represented the hub for logistical supply of the self-proclaimed caliphate from Turkey during the rule of the ISIS. Therefore, the liberation of the city has always been a particular thorn in the side of the AKP/MHP regime. From the beginning, the self-governing city has been subject to attacks by ISIS and other sleeper cells mobilized by Turkey. The region is shelled almost daily with artillery shells by mercenaries of the so-called SNA.