Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said that fighters from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) will be removed from the northern Aleppo countryside of Syria in accordance with the roadmap set out by Ankara and Washington, adding that this would be carried out by American and Turkish soldiers.
In a statement to the Anadolu news agency on Tuesday, the Turkish minister said that the YPG was being removed from Manbij and the steps would be monitored militarily by American and Turkish soldiers.
He added that the Americans were persuaded that the YPG is part of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is on the terrorist lists in Ankara and Washington, saying: “Otherwise, this understanding could not have been reached.”
Canikli also said that his American counterpart James Mattis said there could be no stalling in the implementation of the roadmap regarding the Syrian city of Manbij, as he put it.
In the same context, Defense Minister Canikli said that the view of his country since the beginning has been to “form a local administration in a way that accords with and reflects the pre-war demographic composition of Manbij city” and said that Turkey and the United States would determine participants in the city’s local administration.
He said that the understanding between his country and the United States regarding Manbij opened the possibility for cooperation with regards to the “clearing out of remaining terrorist groups across Syria,” as he put it.
According to the Turkish Yeni Safak newspaper, the agreement included the establishment of 11 observation points, six of them under the authority of the Turkish armed forces and five under American.
The two sides have also agreed to reestablish educational centers and health and judicial facilities in the city, and to work to remove what remained of the PKK in Manbij, as the newspaper put it.
It said that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu previously said that the roadmap for Manbij would be in three stages.
The first stage was the withdrawal of the YPG from Manbij, and then a plan would be completed to “clean the local institutions of the organization’s members” and then the United States and Turkey would cooperate in establishing local and security organizations in the city.
In the third stage, the United States and Turkey would run joint military courses to achieve security and stability in Manbij.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.