Jul 06 2018

Kurdish forces intend to resist if Turkey enters Manbij

Helil Bozi, commander of the Manbij Military Council, which is part of the Kurdish-majority Syrian Democratic Forces said they intend to resist, if Turkish forces enter the town, Sputnik reported on Tuesday. 

Turkish and the U.S. troops started on June 18 separate coordinated patrols in the area according to the roadmap agreed by two countries in June, but Turkish forces have not entered the town yet. 

Bozi told Sputnik that, Turkish forces patrol along the border of the town opposite Manbij in the Sajur River area, while coalition forces are patrolling from the Manbij side.

"We recently met with the representatives of the coalition forces, and they assured us that they will ensure Manbij's security and that no one will enter its territory. However, in the event of an unforeseen situation, we intend to resist the Turkish military," Bozi said.

Manjib was captured from Islamic State (ISIS) by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in August, 2016. While the United States continues to be allied to SDF against the ISIS, Turkey regards SDF and its armed forces the People’s Protection Units (YPG), as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that has been fighting Turkey for more than 30 years. 

Speaking at Anadolu Agency’s Editors' Desk on Friday, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said that YPG forces withdrew from the patrol areas, but that did not mean it had completely withdrawn from the area.