A retreat of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from the Syrian city of Manbij “will not be enough”, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on March 21 speaking at a joint news conference with Lesotho’s Foreign Minister Lesego Makgothi in the capital Ankara.
“It will not be enough for YPG to retreat from Manbij. There will be other cities after Manbij,” the foreign minister said referring to a possible military operation in northeastern Syria.
Commenting on the US military preseince in Manbij and Turkey-US relations, Cavusoglu said there has not been an agreement with the US but “an understanding” on stabilizing Manbij and eastern side of the Euphrates.
“If we reach consensus about roadmap with the U.S., then we can say we have an agreement. Right now, there is an understanding,” he said.
Manbij is currently controlled by the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces, which are a mostly PR brand for YPG units backed up by the US. Recently, Turkey has proposed the US to establish a joint security zone in the area, which will not allow the YPG presence in Manbij.
The Turkish presidential spokesman has even claimed that the sides have reached an agreement over the city. However, this has not been denied by Washington.
“That’s funny, because no agreement has been reached,” US Department of State spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters on March 20 commenting on the issue.