US denies reports of Syrian regime incursion in Manbij
This March 31, 2018 file photo, shows a vehicle of U.S. troops passing on a street, in Manbij town, north Syria. AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File
A U.S. defense official has denied reports Syria's Bashar al-Assad regime forces entered Manbij.
Syrian state-run SANA news agency reported earlier in the day, regime forces entered the city after the YPG invited forces to take control of the region and ward off an announced Turkish operation. Turkey sees the group an extension of the PKK, which it lists as a terrorist organization together with the U.S. and the EU.
"The reports on regime incursion in Manbij are inaccurate," the official told the state-run Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has signaled a cross-border operation against the terror group in Syria will soon take place. Since 2016, Ankara has carried out two similar military operations in northern Syria.
U.S. President Donald Trump last week made the surprise announcement that the U.S. would withdraw its troops from Syria.
Additionally, the US-led coalition said it has seen no indication confirming "true" claims regarding changes to military forces in Manbij.
"We call on everyone to respect the integrity of Manbij and the safety of its citizens," the coalition said on Twitter.
Erdoğan also said the Assad regime is running a “psychological” operation in Manbij.
"We know that Syria is in a psychological action. We know that there is a situation like waving their own [regime] flag there. But there is nothing definite there yet," said Erdoğan.