Turkish CHP Party: US to Stay in N Syria for as Long as Kurdish Militants Remain

In June, Ankara and Washington adopted a roadmap that provided for the withdrawal of the US-backed YPG, which is regarded by Ankara as a PKK affiliate, from the city of Manbij in northern Syria.

The United States will remain present in northern Syria as long as its allies — the People’s Protection Units (YPG) Kurdish militia and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), both considered terrorist organizations by Ankara — remain there, Ozturk Yilmaz, the deputy chair of the Turkish opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) responsible for foreign relations, told Sputnik.

“We know that PKK/YPG are controlling the region with the support of the United States… As long as they are there, the United Stets will also use any excuse to stay there because the United States is protecting the YPG and seeing it as a partner on the ground,” Yilmaz said.

He suggested that the resumption of dialogue between Ankara and Washington, and the agreement on pushing the YPG from northern Syria were partly due to the recent re-election of Recep Tayyip Erdogan as the country’s president.

“I see a kind of rapprochement between the United States and Turkey, a kind of tension decrease process after the election. Manbij agreement is a part of this process,” Yilmaz stated.

Earlier on Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced that the target area would be expanded beyond Manbij.

On June 4, the US Department of State said Cavusoglu and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had endorsed a roadmap to ensure stability in Manbij. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag later said that the sides had agreed on a schedule for the YPG withdrawal.

Sputnik