In August 2016, Turkey launched a military operation dubbed “Euphrates Shield” to oust from northern Syria both Daesh and Syrian Kurdish terrorist groups that threatened Turkey’s security.
The US proposed to Turkey that it would cooperate with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in its efforts to do the same job. Ankara said it may cooperate if the US expelled Kurdish fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) from the SDF. The US did not accept this and the SDF seized Manbij with massive US support. Estimates vary on the number of YPG casualties, but it is definitely in the hundreds. Therefore, the YPG does not want to hand over control of a town that cost so many casualties to take.
Turkey has always been opposed to SDF fighters crossing to the west of the Euphrates, where Manbij is located, and asked the US to prevent them from doing so. Initially, the US promised Turkey that it would do so. At one stage, then-Secretary of State John Kerry informed his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu that the YPG had, in fact, started withdrawing to the east of the Euphrates. This news was confirmed the same day by a spokesman for the US-led anti-Daesh “Operation Inherent Resolve.” But these statements and promises never materialized.
The bargaining between Turkey and the US is still going on. It took months to determine how the YPG fighters would be expelled from the town. A detailed
More than two years after these statements, confirmations
The US side says that the Manbij
A new situation arises now, with President Donald Trump’s decision to pull all US soldiers out of Syria. Turkey was
The Manbij puzzle is going to be solved in a different way, according to US Senator Lindsey Graham. He said last week that UAE and Egyptian military officers have toured Manbij and its outskirts ahead of plans to deploy their forces in the region after the US withdrawal.
Turkey may be unhappy at the deployment of UAE and Egyptian troops in
The Manbij disagreement could, of course, be solved by “burying the YPG terrorists in the trenches they dug,” but another way of solving it is for Turkey to cooperate with the UAE and Egypt in their orderly expulsion from the town.