A video shows the inside of a U.S. military camp overtaken by Russian mercenaries working with Syrian forces, shortly after American troops abandoned it.
U.S. forces left the Manbij camp in northern Syria early Tuesday following
an October 6 directive from President Donald Trump to leave a coalition with the Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) fighting ISIS. A spokesman for the U.S. operation confirmed the departure on Tuesday.
The U.S. decision to pull out gave
Turkish forces the green light to invade Syria and drive out the SDF, which contains Kurdish fighters. Turkey considers the Kurds terrorists and has long vowed to destroy them. Over the weekend the SDF joined a pact with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad's government to fight the Turkish offensive.
Here's a video of the abandoned camp:
The man in the video
was identified by Times of London reporter Tom Parfitt as Russian war correspondent Oleg Blokhin, known to be following the Wagner Group in northeastern Syria.
U.S. troops formerly based at the camp willingly left it to Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group, a Russian private military company who support the Syrian military operation, a SDF official near Manbij
told Business Insider's Mitch Prothero.
The broader Manbij area is currently under the control of Assad's troops, who await an assault from Turkish troops from the north.
The video was first posted to Twitter by a defense blogger known as MrRevinsky. The SDF official confirmed to Business Insider its accuracy.
MrRevinsky posted a second video, this time showing Wagner mercenaries playing with a mechanical U.S. checkpoint barrier at the camp.
Trump's withdrawal from Syrian, and Turkey's subsequent incursion, has unleashed chaos in the region.
Dozens of "high value" ISIS prisoners
have escaped from detention, and experts say this could help the terrorists regroup.
Read more from Business Insider:
- The 1,000 elite US troops in Syria are making a chaotic and demoralizing retreat after Trump canceled their mission
- The Defense Secretary Esper gives U.S.'s strongest condemnation yet of Turkey's 'unacceptable incursion' in Syria
- Trump suggested the Kurds were releasing ISIS prisoners, but U.S. officials say Turkish-backed forces are actually doing this
- Trump is applauding Russia's victory in Syria after handing it to them on a platter
- Up to 5,500 US troops will keep deploying to the southwest border through September 2020