YPG to be disarmed as it leaves Syria’s Manbij -Turkish FM

The Kurdish dominated People’s Protection Units (YPG), at the centre of ongoing tensions between Turkey and the United States, will be disarmed as they withdraw from the city of Manbij Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Tuesday, independent news site t24 reported.

Çavuşoğlu’s comments follow his meeting with his U.S. counterpart Mike Pompeo on Monday, where the two agreed to a road map on Manbij following months of negotiations. 

Turkey has long been urging the United States to remove the YPG, which Ankara views as the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), from Manbij. However, the YPG has served as the backbone for the U.S.-led  fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) in the region, where Turkey  maintains an ongoing military operation.

“The weapons that were given to the YPG by the U.S. will be taken back,” the site quoted Çavuşoğlu as saying.

Çavuşoğlu stressed that no third country would play a role in the YPG withdrawal and the plan would be initiated in 10 days.

Manbij fell to Islamic State early in 2014 and became a hub for the group's foreign fighters until the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance mostly made up of YPG fighters, ousted the extreme jihadists from the city on August 2016 with the help of U.S.-led coalition air strikes.