Turkey Rejects Syrian Regime Forces in Manbij

Friday, 18 January, 2019 - 19:00
Asharq Al-Awsat

Turkey expressed on Friday its rejection of the deployment of Syrian regime forces in the northern town of Manbij after the US withdraw its troops from the country.

The Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) had proposed that the regime reenter the town.

The strategic northern city has been held by the YPG since 2016 after they recaptured the territory from ISIS.

But Ankara, which says the YPG is a "terrorist offshoot" of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), has repeatedly called for the Kurdish force to leave the city.

"The YPG's efforts to stick the regime in Manbij must absolutely not be allowed," Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said during a press conference in Ankara.

Backed by Washington, the YPG has spearheaded the fight against ISIS, but was taken aback when President Donald Trump made the shock decision to pull out 2,000 American ground forces from Syria.

Four Americans, including two US soldiers, were killed this week in Manbij in a suicide attack claimed by ISIS.

Turkey has repeatedly threatened to attack the YPG and said it would set up a "security zone" in northern Syria following a suggestion by Trump.

Last month, the YPG called on the regime to "assert control" over areas the YPG was to withdraw from, including Manbij, to stop a "Turkish invasion" and fiercely rejected a "security zone".

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