YPG leaves Manbij and moves east towards Euphrates

The YPG announces that it is withdrawing east towards the Euphrates River from Manbij following the start of the Turkish-backed Operation #EuphratesShield and a warning from the US.

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

A YPG militant walks among the silos and mills of Manbij in Aleppo Governorate, Syria, July 1, 2016.

YPG militants have begun their withdrawal from territory west of the Euphrates River following the start of the Turkey-backed operation in northern Syria, the group announced on Thursday.

The group announced in a statement that their armed elements have left the city.

"Our forces [YPG militants] have implemented their mission of liberating Manbij successfully, and thus we handed the town to the civil council of Manbij on the day of the liberation and handed the military matters to Manbij Military Council," the statement read.

The report was confirmed by the spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) – also known as the US-led coalition against DAESH – John Dorian.

Dorian tweeted on Thursday that the main elements of the SDF, a US-backed umbrella group consisting mainly of YPG militants, have gone east of  the Euphrates River.

But some still remain in the city.

Ankara has long insisted that the PYD and its military wing, the YPG, should not retain a presence west of the Euphrates.

The group – the Syrian affiliate of the PKK, which has waged war on Turkey for 32 years – had established a foothold in the region after helping capture the city of Manbij from DAESH earlier this month.

The YPG's withdrawal came following the start of operation #EuphratesShield in which the Turkish Armed Forces entered Syria to clear DAESH terrorists from Jarabulus by supporting the Free Syrian Army.

The operation is also aimed at securing the border region by pushing the YPG back to the Euphrates.

Before its decision to withdraw from Manbij, US Vice President Joe Biden had called on the group to pull back east or lose US support.

TRTWorld and agencies