US-backed military council says YPG has completely left Manbij
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The US-backed Syrian Manbij Military Council on Sunday announced that the last of the Kurdish People’s Protection’s (YPG) advisers had left Manbij city.
“The Manbij Military Council (MMC) announces the last group of YPG advisers withdrew today July 15 after they finished their mission in training and rehabilitating our forces in agreement with the international coalition,” the council said in a statement.
On June 4, Cavusoglu met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo where the two endorsed a general roadmap. Following the announcement, the YPG announced on June 5, that they would withdraw their advisers from Manbij.
After the announcement of the roadmap, Turkish and US troops started independent patrols along the so-called green line separating Turkish-controlled areas of northern Syria from the town of Manbij, which is controlled by the MMC, affiliated to the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), spearheaded by the Kurdish YPG forces.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Turkish journalists accompanying him in Brussels on July 12 that Turkey wants the US to cut its ties to the YPG completely, and that the “Manbij deal is continuing as planned,” the pro-Turkish government Daily Sabah reported.
“What is on the agenda in Manbij right now is for the YPG to move east of the Euphrates [River] and to ensure that the actual owners of Manbij [return], which previously had a 90 percent Arab population,” Erdogan said at the time.
Turkey views the SDF’s Kurdish leadership, the YPG, as the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which, along with the US and European Union, it considers a terrorist organization. However, the US and the YPG reject that characterization.
“The YPG is responding to a timetable that has been set by the US-led coalition, it’s important for the United States for its local Syrian partners demonstrate that they are respectful of the agreement that has been worked out between the United States and Turkey,” Nicholas A. Heras, a Middle East security analyst at the Washington-based Center for a New American Security, told Kurdistan 24.
“Potential international donors to the US-led rehabilitation efforts for a post-ISIS northeastern Syria want to see the type of political stability that has been build by the United States and its local Syrian partners. Manbij is expected to be the first milestone on the road to a broader project of rehabilitating post-ISIS Syria,” he added.
“The YPG has to demonstrate that it’s listening to its American partners and respectful of deals the US has cut with Turkey. We can expect that, as the US continues to secure more international funding for rehabilitation for northeastern Syria, we will see more gestures by YPG to show that it is one of, not the dominant actor in the process,” he concluded.
Editing by Nadia Riva