MANBIJ, Syria (Kurdistan24) – On Thursday, the Syrian Kurdish forces (known as YPG) announced they withdrew from the Syrian northern town of Manbij that was liberated two weeks ago by the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The YPG command said in a statement that their forces have completed their mission of liberating Manbij, and left it for the local council in the town, known as Manbij Military Council.
Additionally, Spokesperson for Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), the US-led coalition against the Islamic State (IS) group, said the leading force of the SDF, referring to the YPG, has left Manbij.
To clarify: Main element of SDF Manbij liberation force has gone east; some forces remain to finish clearing, IED removal as planned.— OIR Spokesperson (@OIRSpox) August 25, 2016
On Wednesday, the United States made it clear to Syrian Kurdish forces that they must return to the east of the Euphrates River after controlling Manbij; otherwise they will not have US support.
Speaking at a press conference in Ankara on Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden said, “[Kurdish forces] must move back across the Euphrates River. They cannot — will not — under any circumstance get American support if they do not keep that commitment.”
Regarding the reasons for the withdrawal, the YPG statement explained that their forces have ended their task, and staying in the town is not necessary.
“Our forces [YPG] have implemented their mission of liberating Manbij successfully, and thus we handed the town to the civil council of Manbij on the day of the liberation and handed the military matters to Manbij Military Council,” the statement read.
The statement further pointed out that the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have liberated wide areas southern Jarabulus in northern Syria, and handed those areas to Jarabulus Military Council, a council founded recently and aimed at controlling Jarabulus with the SDF’s support.
On Wednesday, The Turkish-backed Syrian Arab rebels took full control of Jarabulus by the support of the Turkish army.
The YPG-led, US-backed SDF launched the Manbij operation on May 31 and liberated the town fully on August 12 after a two-month battle.
Editing by Ava Homa