Jun 05 2018

Kurdish militia agrees to withdraw advisors from Syrian town of Manbij

The People's Protection Units (YPG), a Kurdish dominated militia in Syria, announced on Tuesday that it would withdraw its military advisors from the northern Syrian town of Manbij, Reuters said.

The announcement comes a day after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced they had agreed on a road map for Manbij following months of negotiations.

Turkey has long demanded that the United States use its leverage over the YPG, viewed by Turkey as a branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), to force it to leave Manbij which it has controlled since 2016. The United States however, has allied with the YPG in its struggle against Islamic State in the region.

The YPG statement said its fighters had withdrawn from the city in 2016, but that advisors had remained behind to assist the Manbij Military Council.

“We affirm that our forces will heed the call when necessary to offer support and help to the people of Manbij should it be needed” the statement said.

Turkey says the Manbij Military Council, part of the same umbrella group as the YPG, is really the Syrian Kurdish force under another name.