Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday the Kurdish YPG militia had not withdrawn from some areas inside Syria along the Turkish border and that U.S. forces were still carrying out joint patrols with the YPG.
Turkey struck two separate deals with the United States and Russia for the YPG to withdraw from the “safe zone” it plans to form in northeastern Syria, in return for Ankara stopping its offensive against the group. While Washington and Moscow have said the fighters left, Erdogan has said this was not the case.
In a speech, Erdogan said YPG fighters remained in Tel Rifaat, Manbij and to the east of Ras al Ain, which Turkey targeted in the incursion. He said Turkey would abide by the deals as long as Washington and Moscow kept their promises.
He later told reporters in parliament that U.S. forces were still holding joint patrols with the YPG inside the 30-km border strip from which the militia was meant to withdraw.
“How can we explain America holding patrols with terrorist organizations in this region even though they made the decision to withdraw? This is not in our agreement,” he said.
Ankara considers the YPG a terrorist group tied to militants who have waged an insurgency in southeast Turkey since 1984. U.S. support for the YPG, which was a main ally in the fight against Islamic State, has infuriated Turkey.