— Already Happened (@M3t4_tr0n) March 4, 2017
United States should act in order to fulfill its promise to make Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) forces leave Syria’s Manbij in line with Ankara’s request or Turkey would have to reconsider an operation there, Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Işık said Feb. 22.
“One of the crucial aims of Turkey is to end the PKK [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] – PYD presence in Manbij. If the United States does not do so, Turkey will have to re-evaluate this operation,” Işık said on Feb. 22 in a televised interview.
Turkey does not want PYD forces to go to the west of the Euphrates River, agreeing with the U.S. that PYD forces would leave Manbij and retreat to the east of the Euphrates following the town’s liberation from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The full withdrawal has not yet been realized, according to Turkey.
“This is something that will affect the Raqqa operation. Our advice, as Turkey, is to do this with the right actors who will solve the problem permanently in Raqqa,” Işık said, noting that they might not need Turkish ground troops in the Raqqa offensive.
“We do not think Turkish troops will be needed much in the Raqqa operation,” he stated.
Işık said the U.S. was aiming to finalize its plans for the Syria offensive.
The new U.S. administration has closer perspective toward Turkey, compared to the previous Barack Obama administration, he said.
Elaborating on Turkey’s proposal to launch the Raqqa offensive with Arab elements instead of cooperating with the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), Işık stated that Washington was concerned of a possible delay in the Raqqa operation.
In his meeting with new U.S. Defense Minister James Mattis in Brussels, Işık stressed that he opposed the idea of uniting Syrian Kurdish cantons in northern Syria.
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