Assad regime says YPG terrorists withdraw from Manbij ahead of Turkish op

FRENCH PRESS AGENCY - AFP
ISTANBUL
Published 02.01.2019 21:49
Updated 02.01.2019 21:54
File photo
File photo

The Syrian regime said Wednesday hundreds of YPG terrorists had withdrawn from Manbij near the border with Turkey, days after the militants appealed to Damascus for support against the upcoming Turkish offensive.

"A convoy of units of Kurdish fighters comprised of more than 30 vehicles left the region of Manbij, heading towards the eastern bank of the Euphrates River," the defence ministry said online.

"The information (we have) indicates that nearly 400 Kurdish fighters have left Manbij so far."

The People's Protection Units (YPG), the armed wing of the PKK's Syrian affiliate Democratic Union Party (PYD), last week invited regime forces to deploy to the key city following a shock announcement that American troops would leave the country.

The YPG seized Manbij in 2016 and US forces have continued to support the terrorist group under the pretext of their fight against another terrorist group, Daesh.

The Syrian defence ministry released a video showing a long convoy of 4x4 vehicles and white pick-ups carrying terrorists in combat fatigues and displaying the YPG flag.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said the fighters who withdrew from Manbij on Wednesday were not YPG fighters but belonged to other militias within the SDF.

In mid-December, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced an imminent Turkish operation east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria, saying Turkey had begun taking action toward the offensive against the PKK terror group's Syrian affiliate the YPG.

Almost all the territory east of the Euphrates comprises about a third of the territory of Syria, except for the Bashar Assad regime-controlled area near Deir el-Zour and the area near the Iraqi border controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a group dominated by YPG terrorists.

Ankara has long told Washington that the YPG is no different from the PKK, and partnering with one terrorist group to fight another is unacceptable.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union.

YPG is the Syrian wing of PKK terrorist group but the U.S. does not recognize it as such, U.S. Special Representative for Syria James Jeffrey also confessed recently.

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