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Russian military police starts patrols around Syria's Manbij

AFP  |  Moscow 

Russian military police have begun patrolling around the Syrian city of Manbij, a said Tuesday, moving into an area once held by US-backed Kurdish forces.

Russian forces are acting in support of troops who recently deployed in Manbij, in province near the border with the

Kurdish fighters, fearing a Turkish military assault, invited regime forces into late last month after US Donald Trump's shock announcement of a full American withdrawal from

Speaking in a report on Rossiya 24 television, Russian military police said MPs had started patrolling "the security zone around Manbij".

"The task is to ensure security in the area of responsibility (and) to monitor the situation and movements of armed formations," Mamatov said.

The report said Russian military police would be deployed in the area "on a regular basis".

It showed a group of around a dozen khaki-clad armed military police driving through villages in jeeps and lorries flying the Russian flag.

Critics have warned from would allow allies of Bashar al-Assad's regime -- including and -- to increase their influence in the country.

About 2,000 US troops, mainly special forces, are deployed in to work with local fighters in the battle against the Islamic State group.

Kurdish fighters formed the backbone of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which seized from IS in 2016.

They withdrew from the town earlier this month after Trump's announcement.

Trump has in recent days sought to calm fears of an abrupt US pullout, saying any withdrawal would be done in a "prudent" manner.

It was not clear how close the Russian patrols may have been to areas where US forces are deployed.

Syria's Kurdish minority has largely stayed out of the country's seven-year civil war, but controls large parts of the north and northeast, much of it seized in the US-supported campaign against IS.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, January 08 2019. 18:00 IST