US should immediately withdraw from Kurdish-held town in Syria: Turkey FM

Cavusoglu's remarks came a day after the Turkish President designated the remainder of the Kurdish-run autonomous region in northern Syria where the US keeps troops and bases as the next target of his army.
author_image Ari Khalidi

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu on Saturday said the United States needed to pull its troops immediately out of the Syrian town of Manbij, another target of an ongoing military campaign against the Washington-backed Kurdish forces in Afrin.

“The US must cut all ties with the terrorist group. It needs to make [Kurdish forces] lay down arms. It needs to take back all the weapons it gave them. It has to withdraw from Manbij immediately,” Cavusoglu told reporters in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya.

Ankara labels a critical US ally, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighting the Islamic State (IS) in Syria, as a “terror” group for its controversial ties with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Cavusoglu’s remarks came a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan designated the remainder of the Kurdish-run autonomous region in northern Syria where the US keeps troops and bases, including Manbij, as the next target of his army.

With Ankara’s offensive to capture the isolated Afrin region to the west of Manbij entering its seventh day, Cavusoglu said his country expected Washington to take concrete steps for a reconciliation between the two NATO allies with strained ties.

A civilian injured in Turkish airstrikes on the Afrin region is about to receive urgent medical treatment at Afrin's main hospital, Jan. 27, 2018. (Photo: Kurdistan 24 via activists)
A civilian injured in Turkish airstrikes on the Afrin region is about to receive urgent medical treatment at Afrin's main hospital, Jan. 27, 2018. (Photo: Kurdistan 24 via activists)

Earlier in the day, state media reported that US President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster “confirmed” that America was not going to provide any more weapons to the YPG in a telephone call with Erdogan’s spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin.

There was no statement from the White House regarding the call.

Trump had told Erdogan to show “restraint” in the Afrin offensive that, according to Kurdish health officials, has so far seen scores of civilians killed, and over 100 wounded.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany