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Ankara Reinforces Military Presence Around Manbij to Pressure Washington

Ankara Reinforces Military Presence Around Manbij to Pressure Washington

Sunday, 28 July, 2019 - 08:00
FILE PHOTO: Turkish-backed Syrian forces stand with their weapons at Manbij countryside, Syria December 29, 2018. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi/File Photo.
Ankara - Said Abdelrazek
Turkey has stepped up military reinforcements on the border with Syria and has moved some of its troops to the outskirts of the city of Manbij, northeast of Aleppo, threatening to target the Kurdish people’s protection units, which are allied to Washington.

Ankara announced on Wednesday the failure of a round of negotiations conducted by a US delegation - led by Special Envoy to Syria James Jeffrey - over a proposed safe area in north-east of the Euphrates. It added that no progress was made on the implementation of the road map for Manbij, which was signed between the two sides last year.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Turkey was not satisfied with a US proposal concerning the creation of a possible “safe zone” in northern Syria. He explained that Turkey and the US do not agree on the size of the possible zone or how it would be administered.

Turkey said there were about 1,000 members of the Kurdish units in Manbij, adding that Washington did not fulfill its obligations under the road map agreement by moving them to the east of the Euphrates.

On Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan renewed his threats to “bury” elements of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, regardless of the ongoing talks with Washington on the safe area in the east of the Euphrates.

Reports said that large reinforcements from the Syrian Democratic Forces, the main body of the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit, armed with heavy weapons, have reached the border town of Tal Abiad, following Erdogan’s threat to prepare for military operations in the area, in order to eliminate what he described as the “terrorist belt.”

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch accused the Turkish government of forcing Syrian refugees to sign voluntary returns to Syria while forcibly sending them back to their country.

In a report, the organization said that it documented many cases of deportation by contacting Syrian refugees who recently arrived in Syria.

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