SYRIAN REGIME, TURKEY, MANEUVER TO TAKE KEY SYRIAN CITY AS U.S. WITHDRAWS
Source:Jerusalem Post Date:30Dec2018
Confusion surrounds the city of Manbij, a critical crossing point coveted by Turkey and assad, currently controlled by SDF, or pro-PKK Kurdish PYD-YPG militia. While Russian and Syrian accounts claim the city fell to the control of pro-Assad forces, Turkish and American sources deny it. This article in Jerusalem Post offers the best explanation of the current conditions on the ground, as well as the politics of it.
The Syrian government move to seek to seize areas around Manbij is only the beginning of the struggle for eastern Syria. The US had not withdrawn. The battle against ISIS is still going on in the southern Euphrates River near the Iraqi border.
The SDF still has tens of thousands of fighters. Turkey has also vowed other operations, potentially near Tel Abyad or along the border in northern Syria. This is a large area and the Syrian regime has only grabbed a dozen kilometers or more. With French forces in the area, and US claims that it will withdraw in coordination with Turkey, it is not clear what comes next.