syria-iranIn a statement on Friday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghasemi welcomed the retake of the Syrian city of Manbij near the Turkish border by Syrian army, adding “the Islamic Republic of Iran highlights the need to respect Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and considers the raising of Syria’s national flag in the city of Manbij an important step toward the establishment of the legitimate rule of Syrian government over the entire country, as well as a new step toward solving the crisis in this country.”

For the first time in years, the Syrian army entered Manbij near the Turkish border, returning the territory to the government fold, which was held by US-backed YPG militia regarded by Turkey as an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The development took place following a US pledge to withdraw troops from the Arab country. Syria’s state-run SANA news agency said the army on Friday raised the national flag in the city which is mainly populated by Syrian Kurds.

The move was also welcomed by Russia, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov calling it a positive trend.