Mar 20 2018

“No indication” U.S. troops will leave Manbij – Pentagon spokesman

As Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan indicates the likelihood of a Turkish incursion into the area of Manbij in Syria, which is presently controlled by majority-Kurdish forces, the United States Department of Defense has said that there is no indication that its troops will be moved out of the area.

Colonel Robert Manning was asked whether the United States intended to remain in the area.

“I'll have to get back to you on that. I have no indication to do otherwise,” he told a Pentagon briefing.

The Manbij area is west of the Euphrates River, an area the United States had previously told Turkey would remain out of the hands of Kurdish forces. But Kurdish-led fighters did cross the river to seize the territory from the Islamic State (ISIS) in 2016 and have remained there since with U.S. support.

In response to a request for clarification by Ahval News, Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway was able to add some detail to the department’s position:

"Coalition forces are currently present in the vicinity of Manbij,” he said.

“Just as in other areas liberated from ISIS control, Coalition forces are supporting the local civil council in its efforts to perform security and stabilisation tasks in and around Manbij. Due to operational security considerations, we don't announce the movement of military forces."