MOSCOW, December 28. /TASS/. Moscow welcomes the reports that the Syrian government troops have gained control of Manbij earlier held by Kurdish formations, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday, commenting on the corresponding report by Syria’s General Staff.
"No doubt, this is a positive step towards stabilizing the situation," the spokesman said.
The expansion of the zone of the Syrian government troops’ control "is a positive trend," Peskov stressed.
The news agency SANA earlier reported citing a spokesman for Syria’s General Staff that the government troops entered the city of Manbij on Friday and hoisted the Syrian national flag. The statement says that the Syrian servicemen will ensure security for all the residents of Manbij and its surrounding region.
Units of the People’s Defense Forces (PDF, the military wing of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party) earlier suggested that Damascus should establish control of the territories currently held by the PDF, in particular, Manbij, in order "to protect these areas from the Turkish invasion."
On December 19, US President Donald Trump announced the decision to start the pullout of US troops from Syria, saying that the Islamic State terrorist group (outlawed in Russia) has already been defeated there, and fighting against it was the only reason for the US military presence in the country.
After that, Turkey stepped up efforts to prepare a new military operation in the north of Syria against the People’s Defense Forces. Ankara calls the city of Manbij its main aim.