The threat of an immediate Turkish-led military operation against territory held by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) appears to have receded for the moment. Groups comprising the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) are stepping back from a state of operational preparedness, with many soldiers allowed to return to their homes and normal lives in recent weeks. However, invasion plans appear to be on hold rather than cancelled altogether––the pause should therefore not be read as a larger policy shift from Ankara, which remains committed to a future large-scale operation. The prime target for Turkish forces is Manbij, a major city of 400,000 that serves as the economic hub for oil sales from Syria’s eastern provinces and rivals Idlib city in terms of regional importance.
Attached Map: Military Situation in North-West Syria – 1st July 2022