US troops will not withdraw from Syria’s Manbij: CENTCOM Gen Votel
U.S. troops will not withdraw from Manbij, a strategically important city in northern Syria, Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of the United States Central Command, told CNN International on Jan. 28.
Votel said withdrawing U.S. forces from Manbij is “not something we are looking into,” the broadcaster reported.
Manbij is a key flashpoint in northern Syria - located northeast of Aleppo and around 40 kilometers south of Jarabulus, which sits on the Syrian-Turkish border.
Turkey on Jan. 20 launched a massive military operation against the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria’s northwestern district of Afrin and vowed that it will expand it to the Manbij area of Syria where YPG troops are located along with U.S. forces.
This means that U.S. troops risk being caught up in Turkey’s military push into northern Syria should Ankara follow through with a pledge to advance into the area.
The confirmation of U.S. commitment to Manbij comes as parties involved in the conflict prepare to meet in Russia-hosted peace talks in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.