DAMASCUS, March 1 (Xinhua) -- Intense battles raged on Wednesday between Turkish-backed rebels and Kurdish-led factions near the city of Manbij in the eastern countryside of Aleppo province in northern Syria, a monitor group reported.
The battles are flaring between the Kurdish-led Manbij Military Council and the Turkish-backed Euphrates Shield rebels, who attacked areas under the Kurdish-backed group near Manbij, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The battles are centered in the southern rim of Manbij, which is under the control of the Manbij Military Council, a force backed by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The battles between the rival rebel groups were anticipated, after the Turkish-backed rebels with the help of the Turkish forces captured the key city of al-Bab from the Islamic State (IS) group in northern Syria last week, with Turkey divulging its intension to push for capturing Manbij from the Kurdish-backed groups.
Ilnur Cevik, an advisor of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said on Monday that his country has plans to end the military operation in Syria after capturing the city of Manbij.
The recent confrontation highlights the intension of Turkey behind its military operation in Syria, with a priority aim to undermine the Kurdish influence in northern Syria.
It's still unknown how the situation will unfold, as the Kurdish groups enjoys the support of the United States, which was said to have deployed forces around Manbij, given the recent developments and the foreseen battles between the Turkish-backed groups and the Kurdish-led ones.
The Syrian army has recently advanced in eastern Aleppo countryside against the IS group, reaching close to Manbij, amid reports that the army will open a route between Manbij and Aleppo city in cooperation with the Kurdish groups.