Turkey, US agree to mon­i­tor se­cu­rity in Man­bij af­ter YPG ter­ror­ists re­treat from Syria

For­eign Min­is­ter Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Turkey and the U.S. have agreed to jointly mon­i­tor se­cu­rity in Man­bij and other ar­eas east of the Euphrates once the YPG with­draws from the re­gion

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page -

Over­see­ing the se­cu­rity of Man­bij and some other ar­eas in Syria will be jointly car­ried out by Ankara and Wash­ing­ton once the ter­ror­ist YPG with­draws, yes­ter­day’s state­ment from the for­eign min­is­ter said, which might sig­nal a dé­tente be­tween the two pow­ers who have had the YPG as a stum­bling block to ties IN A MOVE seen as an ef­fort to over­come dif­fer­ences and re­build trust be­tween Turkey and the United States, For­eign Min­is­ter Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu an­nounced Tues­day that the two NATO al­lies have agreed to mon­i­tor se­cu­rity in Syria’s Man­bij and other ar­eas held by the PKK ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion’s Syr­ian af­fil­i­ate People’s Pro­tec­tion Units (YPG) once it with­draws from the re­gion. “Turk­ish and U.S. troops will en­sure se­cu­rity in Man­bij once the YPG with­draws from there,” Çavuşoğlu told re­porters on his way to Moscow, where he will be meet­ing with his Rus­sian coun­ter­part Sergey Lavrov. The For­eign Min­is­ter also added that the with­drawal process will be mon­i­tored by the two coun­tries. The pres­ence of the YPG, which is the armed wing of the Demo­cratic Union Party (PYD), in Man­bij had turned into a dis­pute be­tween Ankara and Wash­ing­ton af­ter the U.S. ad­min­is­tra- tion failed to keep its prom­ises that the YPG would move east of the Euphrates. Man­bij is also one of the ar­eas in Syria where U.S. troops are present to sup­port the YPG. The U.S.’s sup­port for YPG ter­ror­ists in Syria, cou­pled with the de­lay by the U.S. is show­ing sol­i­dar­ity against the failed July 15, 2016 coup at­tempt and the ex­tra­di­tion of Gülenist Ter­ror Group’s (FETÖ) leader Fe­tul­lah Gülen had re­sulted in a loss of trust be­tween the two coun­tries.

IN RE­SPONSE, Turkey said it would ex­pand its on­go­ing Op­er­a­tion Olive Branch in Afrin in Syria’s north­west to YPGheld Man­bij, and also to the ar­eas in the east­ern parts of the Euphrates River.

Then-U.S. Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son’s visit in Fe­bru­ary and the re­cent agree­ment over Man­bij have come to re­flect the U.S.’s ef­forts to nor­mal­ize re­la­tions with Turkey. This was par­tic­u­larly so af­ter the suc­cess of the Turk­ish Armed Forces (TSK) and the Free Syr­ian Army (FSA) in north­west­ern Syria.

The TSK and FSA have been con­duct­ing an of­fen­sive in Afrin since Jan. 20 to clear the PKK’s af­fil­i­ates from the re­gion. So far they have been able to clear most of the ma­jor ar­eas in the Afrin prov­ince, and as of Tues­day they have sur­rounded city cen­ter.

Af­ter Tiller­son’s re­cent visit, Ankara and Wash­ing­ton agreed to es­tab­lish joint mech­a­nisms to over­come their dif­fer­ences, par­tic­u­larly the U.S.’s sup­port for the YPG in Syria, FETÖ and Iraq.

The de­ci­sion over Man­bij was discussed on March 8-9 be­tween the work­ing groups from both coun­tries in Wash­ing­ton.

For­eign Min­is­ter Çavuşoğlu said the de­tails of their plans will be discussed and a roadmap will be drawn on how to pro­ceed dur­ing their next meet­ing in Wash­ing­ton on March 19.

Prior to Tiller­son, U.S. Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser H.R. McMaster had also vis­ited Ankara where he met with the Turk­ish Pres­i­den­tial Spokesman İbrahim Kalın.

For the fu­ture of Man­bij, Ankara has been ar­gu­ing that it should be ad­min­is­tered by a mech­a­nism that would re­flect the de­mo­graph­ics of the prov­ince, de­ter­mined ac­cord­ing to a cen­sus be­fore the YPG took con­trol, which was pre­dom­i­nantly Arab.

The Turk­ish for­eign min­is­ter said the same model will be ap­plied to other re­gions af­ter, in­clud­ing in the re­gions of the east­ern parts of the Euphrates River and Raqqa.

“We still have dis­agree­ments from the last meet­ing, how­ever, we are on a direc­tion of mu­tual agree­ment,” Çavuşoğlu said.

Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan had also told re­porters on Feb. 28 dur­ing his visit to Al­ge­ria that Arabs con­sti­tute about 90-95 per­cent of the lo­cals in Man­bij.

“How­ever, they were force­fully re­lo­cated from there. Now the ac­tual own­ers of Man­bij say that they are de­ter­mined to de­fend their towns. We be­lieve that Man­bij should be re­turned back to the ac­tual own­ers,” Er­doğan said.

The YPG’s ul­ti­mate aim is to es­tab­lish an au­ton­o­mous re­gion in north­ern Syria by con­nect­ing north­west­ern Afrin to the Kobani and Jazeera can­tons in the north­east. As such, Turkey’s op­er­a­tion will put a stop to es­tab­lish­ing the au­ton­o­mous re­gion, which Ankara terms a “ter­ror cor­ri­dor.”

Ankara has also re­quested that the U.S. take back the arms it has given to the YPG, ar­gu­ing that they are ul­ti­mately used against Turkey see­ing as the YPG trans­fers them to PKK mil­i­tants.

Turk­ish of­fi­cials say that the PKK, a group listed as a ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion by the U.S. and the EU, is or­ga­ni­za­tion­ally linked to the YPG.

The U.S. has given the Syr­ian Demo­cratic Forces (SDF), which is dom­i­nated by the YPG, nearly 5,000 truck­loads of weaponry and mil­i­tary equipment, un­der the pre­text of fight­ing the Daesh ter­ror­ist group.

For­eign Min­is­ter Çavuşoğlu said Ankara is aware that not all the weapons will be taken back by the U.S. as some will be lost or worn out, but the process is still be­ing fol­lowed by Turkey in a joint work­ing group.

U.S troops look out to­ward the border with Turkey from an out­post near the town of Man­bij, Syria, Feb. 7.

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