Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu stated on Tuesday that nearly 200 fighters from the PKK-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG) and Democratic Union Party (PYD) have yet to withdraw east of the Euphrates, as he urged the U.S. to keep its promise on the matter - or else Turkey will take the "necessary actions." Speaking in a Parliamentary planning and budget committee that convened on Tuesday evening, Minister Çavuşoğlu informed committee members about the upcoming Raqqa operation in Syria and said: "The YPG will only serve in seizing, as operations in the city will be conducted by special forces along with local forces. This is the agreement we have reached with the U.S., but we are still walking on thin ice as to whether they keep their promise or not, as we have experienced with Manbij."
Underlining that Turkey's policy aim is to contribute to finding solutions to regional conflicts, Minister Çavuşoğlu stated, "We [Turkey] certainly defend the territorial integrity and independence of both Syria and Iraq, as there is no other country that defends this as strongly as us." Upon questions regarding Operation Euphrates Shield and the YPG presence, Çavuşoğlu stated that Turkey still awaits the withdrawal of nearly 200 YPG militia members, saying: "Once al-Bab is reached, then there is about 11 kilometers to the regime, and there is no need for another clash with them. Aleppo has its own dynamics; thus, from there [al-Bab], we will go towards the east to Manbij. If the YPG does not withdraw from there, then we will take the necessary actions."
Touching upon the recent military deployment to Silopi province, close to the border, Çavuşoğlu stressed that Turkey has to protect the rights of Turkmens in Tal Afar, as he noted that the deployment was a precautionary measure to prevent PKK terrorists from securing a base in northern Iraq's Sinjar region. In regards to ongoing discussions on Bashiqa camp, Çavuşoğlu reaffirmed that Turkey has plans B and C regarding Mosul and added that Turkey aims to "take the camp into the coalition and work with Iraq."
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