A U.S. military spokesman said Tuesday that Washington is sticking to its agreement with Turkey on a road map for the northern Syrian province of Manbij, which does not include the PKK's Syrian affiliate - the People's Protection Units (YPG).
Speaking via video call at a news conference at the Pentagon, Col. Sean J. Ryan, the spokesman for the U.S.-led Combined Joint Task Force, emphasized there are little elements of the YPG left in the area.
"As far as I'm tracking, there's very little YPG if any at all. And we are adhering to that agreement that the YPG will not be part of Manbij," Ryan told Anadolu Agency (AA).
He also highlighted the success of coordinated patrols between Washington and Ankara, which he said have routed any Daesh elements from the region.
The Manbij deal between Turkey and the U.S. focuses on the withdrawal of the YPG from the city in order to stabilize the region.
Both countries conducted more than 40 rounds of separate coordinated patrols in the region between areas liberated by Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield and Manbij, according to Turkish officials.
Separate patrols in the region began June 18, however, joint patrols have yet to be conducted.
In response to a question by AA, the spokesman said training is ongoing for these joint patrols, but there is no timeline on when it will start.
"There's stability there, the shops are open, people are moving around freely, there's very few signs of any Daesh or any other malign actors in that area," Ryan added. Ryan went on to say in the Manbij agreement to issue the joint patrols, the remaining YPG elements within the area would need to leave the city.
The YPG was the focus of Turkey's counterterrorist Operation Olive Branch in Afrin, Syria, near the border with Turkey. Turkey recognizes the PKK and YPG as organically linked terrorist groups. The U.S., however, while listing the PKK as a terrorist group, has supported the YPG militarily, under the pretext of fighting Daesh. The U.S. previously has given truckloads of military support to the YPG, which functions under the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), despite Ankara's warnings. In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU, has been responsible for the death of some 40,000 people, including women and children.
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