YPG to withdraw from Manbij on July 4: Turkish FM
The Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which is listed by Ankara as a terrorist organization and an offspring of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), is scheduled to withdraw from the northern Syrian town of Manbij on July 4, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said.
Speaking to private broadcaster CNN Türk on June 21, Çavuşoğlu said Ankara’s deal with the United States on the Manbij issue is “proceeding with no problem” and the YPG is scheduled to withdraw from the town on June 4, according to the bilateral roadmap.
The Turkish army conducted its first patrolling mission around Manbij on June 18 for the implementation of the road map and the second patrolling mission was conducted on June 20.
The U.S. considers the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), dominated by YPG militants to be its main ally in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria.
Turkey has long pushed for the YPG’s removal from Manbij, where a sizeable U.S. force has also been deployed since early 2016.
The road map, which has a set timeframe, foresees the withdrawal of the YPG from the city and the establishment of a new local council to be composed of mainly Arab locals.
Çavuşoğlu also warned on June 21 that Turkey could launch a military operation in the Mahmur refugee camp in northern Iraq if the United Nations “continues to let the PKK militants stay there.”
“If they don’t do anything, then we’ll do it ourselves,” he said.