Damascus Demands Turkish Forces' Immediate Withdrawal From Syrian Lands
The foreign ministry’s statement comes the day after Turkish President Erdogan claimed control over the Kurdish-held city of Afrin. Earlier, Erdogan’s press secretary Ibrahim Kalin had stated that Turkey was not going to hand in control over Afrin to Damascus.
On March 16, the Tukish president vowed to clear the territory from the eastern bank of the Euphrates in Syria up to the border with Iraq of terrorists, after it does the same in Afrin and Manbij cities.
The United States, in turn, announced later today that it will take measures to ensure deconfliction with Turkey in the Syrian town of Manbij, Pentagon Director of Defense Press Operations Col. Rob Manning told reporters.
“As you know, we have US forces in Manbij. We do not have US forces in Afrin, in western Syria, but there are US forces in Manbij,” Manning said. “It’s been very clear to all parties that US forces are there. And we’ll take measures to make sure that we deconflict.”
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Damascus has repeatedly condemned Ankara’s operation as a violation of Syria’s sovereignty. Turkey jointly with the opposition Free Syrian Army forces, launched Operation Olive Branch in Afrin in order to “clear” its border with Syria from terrorists. Turkey considers the Democratic Union Party (PYD), a Kurdish political party in northern Syria, and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia to be linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by Ankara.