Turkey is concerned over the United States' arms support for the PKK's Syrian affiliate, the People's Protection Units (YPG), amid efforts to implement the Manbij deal, which aims to clear the region of YPG terrorists.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said the implementation of the Manbij road map determined with the U.S. is a very important issue for Turkey while underlining that the country's continuous engagement with the YPG remains a significant source of concern for Turkey.
Reiterating Turkey's wish to push the YPG east of the Euphrates, Kalın said: "We are expecting the Manbij road map to be implemented as planned, with no delays. However, according to sources on the ground, the process is moving slowly. We have done our part and we will continue to do what is necessary."
Emphasizing that preparations are almost complete for joint Turkish-U.S. patrols, Kalın said the 90-days plan had been determined and that it is very important to follow the plan without any delays.
On June 4, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reached an agreement for the withdrawal of the YPG from Manbij. In line with the agreement, Turkey is expecting a complete withdrawal of YPG terrorists from Manbij and its surrounding areas.
The deal envisages the deployment of initially separate coordinated patrols and later joint patrols by American and Turkish forces to assure peace in the region. It then plans to train local forces to establish and maintain security. Once the road map is complete, an administration reflecting the true Arab demographics of the region should be in control, according to Ankara.
On Tuesday, a U.S. military spokesman said Washington is sticking to its agreement with Turkey on a road map for Manbij and it will not include the YPG.
Col. Sean J. Ryan, the spokesman for the U.S.-led Combined Joint Task Force, emphasized there are few elements from 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).
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 on June 18; however, joint patrols have yet to be conducted. Commenting on the Manbij deal, diplomatic sources told Daily Sabah under condition of anonymity that, "The process has been proceeding slowly yet this would not mean that the agreement will not be implemented."
Meanwhile, the U.S. delivered 250 truckloads of weapons and military equipment to the terrorist organization on Wednesday. The U.S. State Department also omitted the YPG from its 2017 Country Reports on Terrorism released on the same day; the YPG was mentioned in the previous edition.
The U.S. military support for the YPG under the pretext of fighting Daesh has long been causing tension between Ankara and Washington. The U.S. has given truckloads of military support to the YPG, despite Ankara's warnings that the group is organically linked to the PKK, a group listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S., Turkey and the European Union.
The weapons are ultimately transferred to the PKK and used against Turkey. In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women and children.
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