Turkiye, Politics

'Terrorists to be disarmed under deal on Manbij'

Turkish FM Cavusoglu says once Manbij model completed, similar model to be applied to other areas of Syria occupied by YPG

'Terrorists to be disarmed under deal on Manbij' Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu

By Merve Aydogan


Turkish foreign minister said Tuesday YPG/PKK terrorists will be disarmed under a roadmap drawn up by Turkey and the U.S. to rid Manbij, Syria, of the terror group.

The roadmap on Manbij was announced after a meeting between Cavusoglu and his U.S. counterpart Mike Pompeo on Monday.

The deal focuses on the withdrawal of the PKK-affiliated YPG terror group from the northern Syrian city and regional stability in the region.

"In the first phase, terrorist YPG will withdraw from Manbij. They will disarm as they withdraw. They will move to the east of the Euphrates. However, that does not mean we will accept that they stay there," Cavusoglu told reporters in the southern Antalya province, adding that the roadmap will be implemented in the east of the Euphrates, too. 

He described the deal as an opportunity for the future of Syria and also for Turkey and the U.S. to put relations back on track. 

"Thus, this roadmap has to be fully implemented, on which we have agreed. Both sides have the determination on this," Cavusoglu said.

He said intelligence, military and defense officials, as well as diplomats, are set to hold a preparatory meeting in 10 days to lay the groundwork for the implementation of the roadmap, which he said will take less than six months. 

He said after the YPG/PKK terrorists withdrew from Manbij, Turkey and the U.S. will jointly provide security in Manbij. 

"Once [the implementation of] Manbij model is completed, a similar model will be applied to other areas of Syria occupied by the terrorist YPG," he said. 

'No 3rd country in Manbij roadmap'

The Turkish minister said the roadmap was not "an international agreement" but rather "a bilateral roadmap".

"No third country will have a say in Turkey-US deal whether it is France, United Kingdom or Belgium."

Following a visit by former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Ankara in February, Turkey and the U.S. established a mechanism to address separate issues in working groups, including the stabilization of Manbij and to prevent any undesirable clashes.

The first meeting of the working group on Syria was held on March 8-9 in Washington.

U.S. military support for the YPG/PKK terrorist group in Manbij has strained ties between Ankara and Washington and has led to fears of military clashes between the two NATO allies since there are roughly 2,000 U.S. troops in the city.

In response to a question whether Turkey planned a military offensive against the PKK terror group in northern Iraq, Cavusoglu said the country has been conducting cross-border operations in the region for sometime now. 

Cavusoglu said Turkey was determined to wipe out PKK across the border with Iraq, including Mount Qandil and the area beyond.

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