On March 9, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu revealed in an interview with the German Die Zeit newspaper that Turkey and the US had agreed on a solution for the city of Manbij, which is held by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Cavusoglu also said he hopes that the US will stop its support for the “terrorist organization” in a hint to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and added that he will discuss the Manbij issue with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on March 19.
“The majority of people in cities [they control] are Arabs. For example, Raqqa. Who controls this city? YPG. Nearly 350,000 Syrian Kurds driven out by the YPG continue living in Turkey,” Cavusoglu said in the interview, according to the Turkish Daily Sabah newspaper.
Earlier, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that the Turkish Army will enter the city of Afrin “at any moment” and warned that Manbij will be the next target of the Turkish military. The president even vowed to clean “the east of the Euphrates until the Iraqi border” from the Kurdish forces.
“We’re in Afrin today, Manbij tomorrow. And the day after that we will make sure the east of the Euphrates until the Iraqi border is cleansed of every terrorist group,” Erdogan said at the inauguration of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Politics Academy in Ankara.
According to experts, a Turkish-American deal over the SDF-held areas is impossible now, neither a Turkish military operation against the Kurdish forces in Manbij. However, the US managed before to find a common ground between the Kurds and Turkey in Iraq.
If a US-sponsored Turkish-Kurdish solution is reached in Syria, it would be mainly aimed against the Damascus government.