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SEPTEMBER 2020

Manbij Consequences: YPG Political Leadership Says It’s Ready To Negotiate With Damascus

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Manbij Consequences: YPG Political Leadership Says It's Ready To Negotiate With Damascus

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The political leadership of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) seems to start realizing that its “iron-clad” alliance with the Washington establishment may be not so strong as the YPG has wanted to believe.

On June 4, the US and Turkey announced that they had endorsed a roadmap for the Syrian city of Manbij. According to remarks by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu after a meeting with U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo in Washington, the roadmap will include three stages and will be implemented less than in 6 months. Çavuşoğlu said that the key part of the roadmap is to clear the area from the YPG/PKK and includes the following steps:

  • removal of YPG/PKK forces from Manbij;
  • removal of YPG/PKK affiliated individuals from local governing organizations;
  • forming of a new local governing administration;
  • setting up joint US-Turkish patrols.

The town of Manbij is formally controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). However, all independent analysts and powers involved in the conflict clearly understand that the YPG and its political wing, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), dominate within the group and is the only real political and military leader within it.

HINT: Ankara describes the YPG as a terrorist group, a local branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is involved in a long-standing rebellion against the Turkish government. The PKK is officially recognized as a terrorist group by both the US and Turkey.

On June 5, the YPG announced withdrawal of its “military advisers” from the area. On the same day, Çavuşoğlu made fresh remarks on the Manbij deal with the US. According to the foreign minister, Kurdish groups in northern Syria will be disarmed in the framework of the reached agreement, which includes the area east of the Euphrates.

On June 6, Mays al-Kareidi, a spokeswoman for the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), made an official statement announcing that the SDC is ready for a direct negotiations with Damascus.

According to the statement, SDC Co-Chair Ilham Ehmed declared its readiness for negotiations with the Syrian government without any preconditions. The SDC leader even claimed that an intra-Syrian dialogue without “external interference” is the only solution.

To make the situation clear, the SDC is another brand created to hide the YPG/YPD dominance within the SDF. Ilham Ehmed is a Kurd, a senior member of the PYD.

Just a few months ago, an official position of the SDF/SDC was that the group does not cooperate with the Damascus government or Russia. Furthermore, the SDF has repeatedly accused the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance of cooperating with ISIS and carrying out agressive acts against the “democratic northern Syria” controlled by the SDF.

It looks that this strategy may have been re-shaped a little bit.

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