We will battle U.S. in Manbij if necessary – senior FSA officer

The Free Syrian Army (FSA) deputy chief of general staff said his group was willing to fight U.S. forces if necessary to secure the area of Manbij in Syria, he told Islamist newspaper Yeni Şafak.

“We regard Manbij as strategically important as Afrin, so as Syria’s National Army we have declared war against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) formations in Manbij,” Haitham Afeisi said.

“Rather than the PKK, the U.S. is the more pressing problem. In the case that the Turkish Armed Forces and the FSA were to enter Manbij, the U.S., as it did in Afrin, will withdraw its support from the terrorists. If it does not, we will battle U.S. forces deployed in that region as well.”

The FSA would not stop until it had wiped out all the territory held by the PKK’s sister-party in Syria, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), Afeisi said.

“The U.S. and Western countries have chosen a handful of PKK terrorists over the Syrian people,” he said.

“Practically creating the PKK from scratch, they planted it in the region. In this regard, Operation Olive Branch launched in Afrin is a meaningful response to their treason attempt.”

The FSA were ready to battle for the province, Afeisi said.

“We have no deficiencies in terms of weapons, ammunition or fighters, and we are morally ready as well,” he said. “A 10,000-strong force is ready for Manbij.”