Turkey’s Foreign Minister: “US Guarantees No YPG West of Euphrates”
Turkey’s Foreign Minister has claimed that the United States has given a “guarantee” that no Kurdish forces will remain west of the Euphrates after the completion of an ongoing operation to rid the town of Manbij and surrounding territory of the terrorist group Islamic State.
“If the YPG [Kurdish People’s Protection Units] want to provide logistical help east of the Euphrates that’s different, but after the operations end, we don’t want a single YPG member west of the Euphrates,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu during an interview with state broadcaster TRTHaber.
Çavuşoğlu insisted that the “US has given a guarantee about this.”.
Turkey has given reluctant approval to the Arab-led offensive after receiving assurances from the United States that the few Kurdish troops partaking in the fight would withdraw from the territory once ISIS is routed and governance of the region would be placed in the hands of Syrian Arabs.
Turkey considers the YPG and its political wing the Democratic Union Party (PYD) to be extensions of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is a named terrorist organization.
The United States’ continued cooperation with and support of the YPG in the fight against ISIS in Syria rankles Turkey. In an apparent effort to appease their NATO ally, US military officials have repeatedly stressed that the Manbij operation is being led by local Arabs and the Kurds are assisting only.
“After they take Manbij, the agreement is the YPG will not be staying,” a US military official told Reuters. “So you’ll have Syrian Arabs occupying traditional Syrian Arab land.”