Dear Deeply Readers,

Welcome to the archives of Syria Deeply. While we paused regular publication of the site on May 15, 2018, and transitioned some of our coverage to Peacebuilding Deeply, we are happy to serve as an ongoing public resource on the Syrian conflict. We hope you’ll enjoy the reporting and analysis that was produced by our dedicated community of editors contributors.

We continue to produce events and special projects while we explore where the on-site journalism goes next. If you’d like to reach us with feedback or ideas for collaboration you can do so at [email protected].

Executive Summary for April 5th

We review the key developments in Syria, including Turkey threatening to expand its Syria offensive as the U.S. fortifies positions in Manbij, and reports that Trump is walking back on his decision to leave Syria ‘very soon’.

Published on April 5, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Erdogan Threatens to Expand Syria Offensive as the U.S. Establishes New Front-Line Positions

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that his forces would press on with a campaign to drive Kurdish fighters from northern Syria, the Associated Press reported.

Speaking at a joint news conference with his Iranian and Russian counterparts in Ankara, Erdogan said that Turkish forces would first push eastward into Manbij, which is held by the Kurdish militia known as the Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG).

“I say here once again that we will not stop until we have made safe all areas controlled by the (YPG), starting with Manbij,” Erdogan said.

This is not the first time Erdogan has threatened to attack the area, where U.S.-led coalition forces are based. However, his comments come at a time when U.S. forces are said to be establishing new front-line positions outside Manbij in anticipation of a potential attack, according to the AP.

A front-line commander in Manbij, a member of the Manbij Military Council, told the AP that fortified U.S. positions were meant to deter attacks. “It is to protect the area and to ensure that there is no attack from Turkey or from the mercenaries in the area,” said the official on the condition of anonymity.

The U.S. Will Not Pull Out of Syria Immediately: Administration Official

President Donald Trump has reportedly agreed to keep U.S. forces in Syria for a little longer but has ruled out the prospect of a long-term commitment to the war-torn country, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

Citing an unidentified senior administration official, Reuters said that Trump expressed this decision during a National Security Council (NSC) meeting this week.

“We’re not going to immediately withdraw but neither is the president willing to back a long-term commitment,” the official said.

Trump did not specify when he would seek to pull troops out of Syria, but the administration official said the impression Trump left during the NSC meeting was that he would withdraw in a year or less. “He’s not going to tolerate several years to a half decade,” the official said.

Trump on Tuesday said he was seriously considering pulling U.S. troops out of Syria now that the so-called Islamic State is nearly defeated. “Sometimes it’s time to come back home, and we’re thinking about that very seriously,” he told reporters at a news conference.

Last week he said that U.S. forces would be leaving Syria imminently. “We’ll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon,” Trump said on Thursday. “Let the other people take care of it now.”

Recommended Reads:

Suggest your story or issue.


Share Your Story.

Have a story idea? Interested in adding your voice to our growing community?

Learn more