(Bloomberg) — Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad took control of the strategic town of Manbij near the Turkish border as pressure mounted on Ankara to end an offensive that has drawn U.S. and European sanctions and accusations of war crimes. Washington’s decision to abandon its Kurdish partners in the face of Turkey’s attack has upended old alliances and opened up a new and unpredictable phase in Syria’s eight-year-old civil war. Kurdish-led forces, who fought with U.S. backing to defeat Islamic State, have been forced to turn to Assad for help, pulling back from the border area as Syrian government troops march in. The main Kurdish militia has warned they may not be able to secure camps and prisons holding thousands of Islamic State jihadists, including Europeans whose home countries don’t want them back. In its strongest comments yet, Russia said the offensive was “unacceptable” and it was opposed to the presence of Turkish forces inside Syria, where years of Russian aerial support helped turn the tide of the war in favor of Assad. A top aide to Vladimir Putin said Moscow was mediating between the two sides and would not allow them to clash. Turkey says its offensive… Read full this story
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