PYD will leave Manbij, local Arabs to rebuild city, US says

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ISTANBUL
Published 16.08.2016 23:12

The United States State Department said on Monday that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of militias dominated by the People's Protection Units (YPG) militia of the Syrian PKK affiliate Democratic Union Party (PYD), has promised that Arabs will assume control of the city of Manbij after the SDF liberated it from DAESH. State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said in a press briefing that the local Arabs who liberated their lands will be those to rebuild the area and restore local control after DAESH is completely driven out. She added that the liberation of Manbij has helped "to reduce the ISIL [Daesh] threat to Turkey."

With reference to the YPG-dominated group, Trudeau stressed that this was decreased by the coalition's support of "vetted Syrian opposition" forces fighting Daesh near the Mara line and along Turkey's borders. The U.S. Department of Defense released a statement late on Monday which praised Turkey's support for the operation to expel terrorists from Manbij.

A statement from Secretary of Defense Ash Carter read: "I want to congratulate the people of Manbij, the Manbij Military Council, the Syrian Arab Coalition and the SDF for their success in liberating Manbij city from ISIL's hateful rule." Their success, enabled by critical coalition support, is another significant milestone in the campaign to deal ISIL a lasting defeat." Touching upon Turkey's support and efforts to remove the Daesh terrorist group from the town, he said, "I also want to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the Turkish government for their support for this critical operation."

Stating that the people of Manbij face a difficult time ahead as they try to rebuild their homes and their society, which was destroyed by Daesh, Carter called on all members of the coalition to help them.

Carter concluded that in the meantime, "the military coalition will continue to work with capable and motivated local forces to defeat ISIL and ensure it remains defeated."

The SDF announced on Friday that they had seized full control of the northern Syrian town of Manbij from Daesh. Upon defeat, the Daesh terrorists freed hundreds of civilians they had used as human shields while retreating in northern Syria, according to reports on Saturday from U.S.-backed forces and a monitor.

The differing interests between warring parties in Syria over the control of Manbij remains a priority of Turkish policies in the region, due to Ankara's issues with YPG expansionist policies in northern Syria, which raises concern regarding Turkish national security as the group has clear links with the terrorist PKK.

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