The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and its political wing, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), have found themselves in a complicated situation because the YPG’s “best friends” in Washington does not seem to be ready to stop Turkey’s efforts to pressure Kurdish armed groups in northern Syria.
— Le Beck Int'l (@LeBeckInt) 18 June 2018
On June 18, photos and a video appeared online showing a Turkish military patrol entering the area of Manbij, which is held by the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
HINT: The SDF is a brand created by the US-led coalition to hide military aid provided to the YPG and its affilates, which are described by Turkey as terrorist groups.
The photos showed in the psot are made at the al-Daadat check point, en route leading to Manbij. The town is currently controlled by the Manbij Military Council (MMC), a group originally established by the SDF. In early June, the YPG already announced that it had withdrawn its “military advisers” from Manbij. However, this is not enough to stop Turkey.
Ankara has repeatedly stated that Kurdish armed groups have to be disarmed and PKK-linked individuals have to be presecuted in northern Syria.
HINT: The PKK – the Kurdistan Workers’ Party – is a Kurdish separatist armed group invovled in a long-standing rebellion against the Turkish government. The YPG and the PKK are directly linked through their ideology, structure as well as members and commanders. The key difference is that the YPG has so far operated only in northern Syria.
This video is filmed north of Manbij:
Earlier this year, Turkey and the US officially announced that they had endorsed a roadmap for Manbij. Ankara describes it as a plan to force YPG and PKK-linked individuals and units to withdraw from the Manbij area and to establish a local governance not linked to the YPG/YPD there.
Turkish officials also stated that this is plan only a part of the wider efforts to disarm Kurdish militias in northern Syria. Earlier, the Turkish military defeated the YPG in a large-scale operation in the northwestern Syrian area of Afrin.
More photos of the Turkish military en route to Manbij: