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    Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he talks during the closing news conference following the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation's Extraordinary Summit in Istanbul, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017

    Erdogan: Trump, Just Like Obama, Lies to Turkey About Kurdish Forces in Manbij

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    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan accused US President Donald Trump and his predecessor Barrack Obama of not fulfilling the promise they'd made to Ankara to compel the Kurdish Self-Defense Forces (YPG) to leave Manbij in Syria's Aleppo Governorate.

    "Obama deceived Turkey on the issue of the Syrian Kurdish militants in Manbij, and Trump follows the same path. Trump told us that they cannot stay there and head east from the Euphrates. He acknowledged that the Arabs are the real rulers of Manbij. But what he promised was not fulfilled," Erdogan told Turkish journalists, returning to Turkey after an official visit to the Vatican and Italy, according to the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet.

    He added that there are many refugees in Turkey from Manbij who want to return to their homeland, and "Manbij will find its real rulers."

    Earlier, Erdogan said that the presence of the United States in Syria after the defeat of the terrorist group Daesh (ISIS) is aimed against Russia, Iran and Turkey, and demanded once again that US troops withdraw from Manbij.

    After launching its "Olive Branch" operation in the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northern Syria, Ankara said that the military endeavor was likely to expand in the direction of the neighboring city of Manbij, where the US has around 2,000 of its military personnel deployed.

    According to US Central Command chief General Joseph Votel, the US was not planning to withdraw forces from Manbij.

    READ MORE: Some 150 Civilians Killed, 365 Wounded in Afrin Amid Turkish Army Op — Reports

    Syrian Territorial Integrity

    Mevlut Cavusoglu, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, responding to questions posed to him during a TV program on the channel TGRT Haber, said: "Turkey more than anyone supports the territorial integrity of Syria. I think that the Syrian government and the Syrian people know about it, and the opposition. We are not a threat to the Syrian government, but the authorities should put an end to violations in the area of Guta and Idlib as soon as possible in order that a transition to a healthy process of political settlement becomes possible in the country… We are not going to defend opposing points of view on certain issues only because of the fact that we do not support relations (with the Syrian authorities — note). YPG threatens not only us, but also the future of Syria," Cavusoglu stressed.

    Relations between Turkey and the US have been experiencing a serious crisis because of the military support provided by Washington to the Syrian Kurds' People's Protection Units (YPG), which is considered by Turkey to be affiliated with the Kurdistan's Workers' Party (PKK), regarded by Ankara as a terrorist organization.

    According to the latest data, Turkish Armed Forces have eliminated 999 members of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), and the Daesh terrorist group since the start of the Olive Branch military operation in Syria's northern district of Afrin.

    Since January 20, Ankara has been conducting an operation in Afrin, codenamed "Olive Branch," against Kurdish fighters, in response to the US announcement of the training of a 30,000-strong border security force in Syria, which Ankara considers as a "terrorist army."

    Damascus strongly condemned the actions of Turkey in Afrin. The Kremlin urged all parties to show restraint and respect the territorial integrity of Syria.


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