12:42 GMT02 July 2020
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    Ankara hopes Washington will keep its word concerning the withdrawal of Kurdish forces from northern Syria to the east bank of the Euphrates river.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The United States should keep promises concerning the withdrawal of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party's (PYD) forces from northern Syria to the east bank of the Euphrates river, Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik said Friday.

    "We expect the coalition forces, especially the US, to keep the promises given to Turkey in this regard. This is the commitment of the United States to Turkey. We expect this commitment to be fulfilled as soon as possible," Isik was quoted as saying by the Anadolu news agency.

    The defense minister stressed that Turkey's main priority was the northern Syrian city of Manbij.

    After the Turkish-led forces liberated al-Bab from the Daesh jihadist group (banned in many countries, including Russia) in February as part of the Euphrates Shield operation, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that the next target was Manbij. Earlier in the week, the president said that PYD should leave Manbij, since it belonged to Arabs, not Kurds.

    On Wednesday, the opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) in cooperation with the Turkish armed forces captured several villages close to Manbij that were under control of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the large part of which make the PYD forces.

    Ankara considers the PYD to be affiliated with the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK), which is listed as a terror group in Turkey, the United States and the European Union. However, PYD and its armed wing YPG, as well as SDF are not outlawed in the United States and have been receiving US support in eliminating Daesh in northern Syria.


    The Turkish operation has been widely criticized both by the Syrian Kurds and Damascus, who have accused Ankara of violating Syria's territorial integrity.



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    Syrian Kurds, The Syrian war, Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Fikri Isık, Manbij, Turkey, Syria, United States
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