'Over 200 YPG members' in Syria's Manbij

Mevlut Cavusoglu reminds US of pledge to push back armed wing of PYD/PKK to east of Euphrates

'Over 200 YPG members' in Syria's Manbij

World Bulletin / News Desk

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has reminded the U.S. its pledge to push the YPG to the east of Euphrates, noting that more than 200 members of the armed wing of the extremist PYD/PKK group remain in Manbij in northern Syria.

Speaking at a joint press conference with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in Ankara on Tuesday, Cavusoglu said: "When our ally, the United States told us that some YPG elements need to be included in the Manbij offensive for logistical purposes, we told them this is a flawed policy.

"But then we agreed to that on one condition: YPG members would retreat beyond [to the east of] the River Euphrates as soon as the operation is over," he said.

However, he noted that the YPG continued to have a presence in Manbij and reminded the U.S. about its pledge to push back the armed wing of PYD/PKK.

"Mr. Biden and Mr. Kerry have pledged. They cannot send them back now, they cannot make the YPG do what they say. More than 200 YPG members are still in Manbij."

The foreign minister also said it would be a "huge mistake" to move the YPG to Raqqa, considered the epicenter of ISIL, given the fact that the U.S. could not now make the group retreat from Manbij.

YPG is the armed wing of the PYD, which Turkey considers to be the Syrian offshoot of the PKK extremist group.

Operation Euphrates Shield began last month and saw Free Syrian Army fighters, backed by the Turkish military, take control of Jarabulus in northern Syria from ISIL.

Syrian opposition forces recently took control of the Tal-ar district in the town of Cobanbey in the northwestern Aleppo province, which had been occupied by ISIL militants.

Turkey has said the operation aims to bolster border security, supporting coalition forces and eliminating the threat posed by extrem organizations, especially ISIL.

The operation is in line with the country’s right to self-defense borne out of international treaties and a mandate given to Turkey’s armed forces by its parliament in 2014, which was extended for another year in September 2015. 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 27 Eylül 2016, 14:27