Feb 22 2018

U.S. does not want to speculate on Manbij

The U.S. military is concentrating on fighting pockets of Islamic State (ISIS) resistance in Syria and the Pentagon does not want to speculate on the prospect of Turkey extending its operations and attempting to take control of Manbij that is currently under the control of the Kurdish Defence Forces (YPG), according to Voice of America which cited an interview given by a U.S. military spokesman to Al Hurra television.

“I do not want to speculate on what might happen at this stage," said Pentagon spokesman Major Adrian Galloway. “Manbij is under the control of the forces that represent the ethnic diversity of the area. There are Arabs, Kurds and others who have been given defensive training.”

Turkish military forces have laid siege to the northern Syrian town of Afrin in an attempt to dislodge Kurdish fighters that the United States has backed in the fight against Islamic State. Turkey claims that the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) are “terrorists” and indistinguishable from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has fought for three decades for autonomy in Turkey.

Turkey has pledged to expand its operations to target Manbij and other regions in northern Syria which are under Kurdish control, raising fears of clashes between American and Turkish troops. 

Galloway said there were still pockets of ISIS resistance in northern Syria and that the fight against the Islamic State was “the more important war”.

“We need all parties to return to the main issue, namely, the issue of defeating ISIS.”