Middle East

YPG to leave Syria’s Manbij after US-Turkey deal

The general command of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) announced that it would withdraw advisors from the northern Syrian city of Manbij, a day after the United States and Turkey endorsed a plan for the city.

On Monday, the U.S. and Turkey announced they had agreed to a ‘roadmap’ for the future of Manbij, which was retaken from Islamic State by the Syrian Democratic Forces, of which the mainly Kurdish YPG is a component, in August 2016. Security of the city has since been the responsibility of Manbij Military Council.

Details of the roadmap have not been released but Turkey has stressed that the predominately Kurdish forces must withdraw from the city and move east of the Euphrates.

“At the request of the Manbij Military Council, a group of military trainers from our forces remained as military advisors to assist the Military Council in the field of training, in coordination and consultation with the international Coalition,” the YPG said in a statement on Tuesday, June 5.

“Their work continued from then [November 16, 2016] until now, and now more than two years later from their ongoing work, and the self-sufficiency of the Manbij Military Council in the areas of training, the General Command of People’s Protection Units (YPG) decided to withdraw its military advisers from Manbij.”

Earlier in the week, Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu reported that the roadmap included a timeline for YPG forces to leave Manbij within 30 days, joint U.S.-Turkey monitoring of Manbij after 45 days, and the ‘establishment’ of a local government after 60 days, followed by a military council to provide security.

The YPG’s move comes on the second anniversary of the death of SDF commander Abu Layla, for who the Manbij military operation was named.

The Manbij Conundrum

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