Euphrates Shield Bashes on Manbij



Several hours ago, the Turkey-supported Euphrates Shield rebel group, fresh from the capture of Al-Bab, has pivoted towards a full out assault on the SDF-held Manbij enclave.

Ahrar Al-Sham units and Turkish spec ops backed up by armor are rumored to be on the outskirts of Arima, which is the stepping stone to Manbij.

Rojava is sponsored by the US, and there are even reports of US troops in Manbij itself. But Turkey is of course also a NATO ally.

The day before, a Turkish newspaper claimed that Turkey threatened the US will lose of access to its Incirlik airbase if it doesn’t stop its support for the YPG.

This seems good for the Syrian govenrment. With the SDF occupied, they will not have to compete with them in a race to the Euphrates, and with the SDF refocusing efforts away from Raqqa, the SAA now even stands a chance of getting there first as well.

The Kurds are, obviously, are the biggest losers. The US aren’t going to be doing air support for them, not least because it would put them in direct confrontration with the Turkish Air Force, so Manbij is most likely doomed. Likewise, the line of communication and potential supply route with Afrin canton that Rojava had acquired a week ago when the SAA linked up with it after cutting across Islamic State seems fated to be very short-lived.

That said, this will be a substantial chunk of land that the Turks are carving out for their surrogates. Should the incipient rebel mini-civil war around Idlib result in the victory of Turkish-sponsored Ahrar Al-Sham and its allies over the JFS, then Syrian-held Aleppo could find itself almost entirely surrounded by a rebel force united by being under Turkish support or influence. And Erdogan doesn’t exactly have a reputation for loyalty.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. The Kurds have no friends but the mountains, and Rojava doesn’t have any mountains.

  2. The Turks will need to do a lot more of the fighting themselves than they have been willing to do so far if they want to succeed against the Kurds. Their puppet rebels are pretty useless.

  3. Hi Anatoly,

    Russia/Syria/YPG preempted the Turkish move:

    “Breaking , SDF Announces to Delivery the villages border with the shield Euphrates near Al Bab to Syrian Army”

    “NOT official, supposed map of the areas would be controlled by #SAA”:

  4. Yes, just seeing it on

    Let us hope this can be actualized before TFSA blitzes its way to Manbij.

  5. Anonymous says

    Based on their performance in al-Bab, I doubt TSK/FSA can “blitz” their way to anything