YPG withdrew from checkpoints in Syria’s Manbij: Turkish Foreign Ministry

YPG withdrew from checkpoints in Syria’s Manbij: Turkish Foreign Ministry

ANKARA
YPG withdrew from checkpoints in Syria’s Manbij: Turkish Foreign Ministry

The Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) has retreated from checkpoints around the northern Syrian city of Manbij, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy said on July 19. 

“It’s confirmed that the [Democratic Union Party] PYD and YPG have entirely withdrawn from the checkpoints on the patrolling route,” Aksoy said at a press conference.

Aksoy said the ultimate goal of the deal, however, is to “fully end the presence of the YPG” in Manbij.

“We are carrying out works to hold joint patrolling missions,” Aksoy said, elaborating on the next phase of the Manbij deal.

The Turkish and U.S. armies have separately been holding patrolling missions around Manbij since June 18, after an agreement reached between the two sides. They held 16 patrolling missions on July 18, he said.

Turkey and the U.S. had announced a roadmap after a June 4 meeting in Washington between Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and his American counterpart Mike Pompeo. The deal focused on the withdrawal of the YPG from Manbij and on stability in the region.

Ankara has long been outraged by the U.S. support for the YPG in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria. Ankara says the YPG is the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which it considers a terrorist organization.

The YPG forms the backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Kurdish-Arab alliance that has ousted ISIL from swathes of Syria with help from the U.S.-led coalition.

Ankara and allied rebels captured the YPG’s northwestern bastion of Afrin in March and said it would continue on to Manbij.

That raised the specter of a possible confrontation with the American and French coalition troops stationed in the town.

Manbij, Syria, YPG