Turkey, US Agreed Roadmap of YPG's Withdrawal From Syria's Manbij
Ankara and Washington have agreed on a schedule of withdrawal of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from the Syrian city of Manbij, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Monday.
“Today, Cavusoglu and Pompeo during the meeting in Washington have agreed on a roadmap on withdrawal of [YPG] terrorists from the region. The schedule, ways of ensuring security and the terms of withdrawal have been set out,” Bozdag told reporters.
Earlier in the day, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu endorsed a roadmap to ensure stability in Manbij.
US-Turkish relations have suffered a setback amid Ankara’s concerns over US support for the YPG, which is viewed by the Turkish authorities as an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), designated as a terrorist organization in Turkey. Ankara has repeatedly accused Washington of failing to fulfill its promises regarding the withdrawal of the YPG, which seized Manbij from the Daesh in June 2016.
Last week, US State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said that the US-Turkey working group on Syria had met to discuss the situation in the country and other mutual concerns, adding that the two sides outlined the contours of a road map for further cooperation, including on the issue of Manbij.
Citing security concerns, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch in the northern Syrian district of Afrin in January aimed at “clearing” Turkey’s Syrian border of the YPG and the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).
In March, Ankara announced that Afrin was under complete control of Turkish forces. However, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the operation would not end with Afrin, clarifying that the regions of Manbij and Idlib would be the next targets.