Kurdish forces should be prevented from handing over the northern city of Manbij to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), a spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on January 18.
“The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) should not be allowed to let forces of the regime [of Syrian President Bashar Assad] enter Manbij,” Hami Aksoy said during a press briefing, according to the Russian news agency, Sputnik.
The Turkish diplomat also warned that the upcoming withdrawal of U.S. forces from northeastern Syria shouldn’t be in favor of the YPG and its political wing, the Democratic Union Party (PYD).
Following the White House announcement of the withdrawal decision last December, the Damascus government and the YPG resumed their talks on northeastern Syria. The first result of the talks was an agreement that allowed the SAA and the Russian Military Police to establish several positions southwest of Manbij.
Aksoy’s statement indicate that Turkey, as expected, is not happy with the recent rapprochement between the Damascus government and the YPG. Despite of this strict stand, Ankara will not likely dare to take military action if both sides reach an agreement on Manbij.
Last year, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made several similar wanings over the town of Tell Rifaat in the northern Aleppo countryside. However, Turkey backed off when Syrian and Russian troops were deployed in the city under an agreement with Kurdish forces.
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