Turkey expects US to keep its word on Manbij

The US has assured Turkey that the PYD would return to east of the Euphrates River after the liberation of Manbij.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Smoke rises from villages in the southern rural area of Manbij on May 31, 2016.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Monday that Turkey expects the US to keep its promise that there will be no PYD presence west of the Euphrates River.

Çavuşoğlu made the remarks to reporters after a meeting with opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu in the capital Ankara.

Asked about the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and PYD fighting DAESH to liberate the northern Iraqi city of Manbij, which is located south of Jarabulus and east of Euphrates River, Çavuşoğlu said:

"The SDF alliance, including some Arab militias was formed in October and since then, it has led the campaign against DAESH with US support.

"The US, even President Barack Obama has assured Turkey that the PYD would return to east of the Euphrates River after Manbij's liberation. We expect them to keep their word."

Turkey considers the PYD as the Syrian extension of the PKK and a terrorist group.

The US administration however, regards the PYD as the most effective ally on the ground in the fight against DAESH.

The SDF and PYD began operations to retake Manbij at the end of May by approaching the city from the west bank of the Euphrates.

Tthe SDF and PYD besieged the city for two months.

The liberation of Manbij is important as it will cut off DAESH militants' key lines of communication between the Turkish border and Raqqa, DAESH’s self-declared capital.

However, Ankara does not recognise the PYD as a legitimate Syrian opposition movement.

Turkey expects the group to vacate the west bank of the river after having seized control of the city from DAESH.

In June, Çavuşoğlu said that Turkey would not tolerate the forces of the YPG, the military wing of the PYD terrorist group, to stay west of the Euphrates River.

He said the US promised that it would not happen.

Turkish-Syrian border security and the advance of YPG-PYD forces in northern Syria have been key issues for Ankara.

Çavuşoğlu also said US Vice President Joe Biden will pay a two-day official visit to Turkey on August 24.

"Biden will visit instead of Secretary of State John Kerry,"

Biden will be the most senior US official to visit Turkey since last month’s defeated coup attempt.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford visited the country on August 1.

TRTWorld and agencies