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    Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters greet civilians who were evacuated by the SDF from an Islamic State-controlled neighbourhood of Manbij, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria, August 12, 2016

    Manbij Liberation by Kurds Creates Geopolitical Challenges Amid Ankara's Stance

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    As Ankara opposes the growth of Kurdish influence, the liberation of Manbij in Syria by Kurds is likely to trigger geopolitical challenges, an intelligence firm said.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The liberation of the Syrian city of Manbij from Daesh presents geopolitical challenges as Turkey’s reaction to the event remains unclear, given that Ankara opposes the growth of Kurdish territorial influence, the private intelligence firm Soufan Group said in a report on Tuesday.

    "It is unclear how Turkey will react to the growing area of de facto Kurdish territorial control near its border, a contentious issue of concern Turkey shares with Iran," the report stated.

    On Friday, the Syrian Kurdish army, backed by the US coalition, liberated the country's key northern city of Manbij, close to the Turkish border from Daesh militants.

    US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter congratulated the forces who helped liberate the city from Daesh and highlighted the support of the Turkish government for the operation.

    The Soufan Group explained that Kurdish victories in Syria have led to the creation of a "Kurdish zone of relative autonomy."

    "This has created tensions with neighboring Turkey, and those tensions will only increase with the liberation of Manbij, which will connect zones of Kurdish-controlled territory on both sides of the Euphrates," the report said.

    The Kurds, Turkey's largest ethnic minority, have been striving to create their own independent state. The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been trying to promote the self-determination for the Kurdish community, is considered to be a terrorist organization in Turkey.

    The intelligence firm suggested that Ankara considers the Kurdish issue more critical than the operations against Daesh or resolution of the civil war in Syria.

    Related:

    Daesh in Talks With Kurds on Exchanging Manbij Residents for Militants
    Pentagon: Daesh Uses Civilians as Human Shields While Fleeing Syria’s Manbij
    Syrian Commander to Sputnik: Syria’s Manbij Fully Liberated From Daesh Jihadists
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    Syrian Kurds, Soufan Group, Turkey, Manbij, Syria
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