U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert announced on March 22 that U.S. forces are not going to leave Manbij and no agreement had been reached between Washington and Ankara on the issue.
The US-Turkish relations over US support to the YPG and especially, the YPG presence in Manbij, remain complicated. Top Turkish officials, including the country’s president, have repeatedly claimed that Ankara is aiming to wipe out the YPG of Manbij and its countryside by military or diplomatic means. A spokesman for the Turkish president has even calimed that Turkey and the US have reached an agreement to establish a no-YPG “security zone” in the area. However, all these claims and threats have been rejected by the US.
The YPG is a core of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a brand created to hide US support to the YPG from the public audience. On the same time, Turkey sees the YPG as a terrorist group, a local branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Meanwhile, the Turkish media speculates that Turkey is preparing to launch a military operation against the PKK in the area of Sinjar Mount in northern Iraq. The advance will allegedly be entitled Operation Tigris Shield and may take place after Iraqi elections set for May 12.