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Syria regime forces shouldn't be allowed in Manbij – Turkey

  • 18 Jan 2019

Terror group YPG has called on Bashar al Assad's regime forces to "assert control" over areas the group was to withdraw from, including flashpoint Manbij, after US troop withdrawal. Ankara says that "must absolutely not be allowed."

US and Turkish soldiers discuss details during the first-ever combined joint patrol in Manbij, Syria, November 1, 2018. ( Reuters Archive )

Turkey on Friday insisted Syrian regime forces should not be allowed in Manbij as US troops withdraw, as proposed by the YPG terrorist group.

"The US withdrawal process from Syria should not serve the divisive agenda of the terrorist PYD/YPG. There should not be a fait accompli on the ground," Hami Aksoy, Foreign Ministry spokesman, told reporters in the capital Ankara.

"The YPG's efforts to stick the regime in Manbij must absolutely not be allowed," Aksoy said.

YPG is a terrorist offshoot of the PKK, and Ankara has repeatedly called for the terror group to leave the city.

Last month, the YPG called on Bashar al Assad's regime to "assert control" over areas the group was to withdraw from, including flashpoint Manbij.

Daesh attack on US troops

The remarks came in the wake of a Daesh attack on Wednesday that killed 16 people. Four Americans, including two US soldiers, were killed in this attack.

Turkish officials said the attack might have been meant to derail the US plan to withdraw from Syria, announced in December after US President Donald Trump spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey, which supports the Syrian opposition and has called for Syrian regime leader Assad's ouster, has conducted two previous offensives in Syria against Daesh and the YPG in 2016 and 2018.

In March last year, Turkish military forces supporting Syrian opposition fighters recaptured the YPG's western enclave of Afrin in Syria.

Cavusoglu to visit US

Aksoy said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu would go to Washington for a meeting of the US-led coalition against Daesh on February 6.

And one day before Cavusoglu's visit, a Turkish delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal will go to the US for discussions on Syria.

Meanwhile, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a loyal Trump supporter, met with Turkish officials including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Cavusoglu.

Both sides discussed the overall situation in Syria and US troop withdrawal. 

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