PKK's US-backed Syrian wing declares civil gov't in Manbij

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 14.03.2017 00:00

The terrorist group PKK's Syrian offshoot, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) has declared the formation of a civil government in the northern Syrian town of Manbij, reported Anadolu Agency (AA).

According to the agency, during an event organized by the PYD-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the group announced that it will form a civil government in Manbij.

The developments in Manbij surfaced after a spokesperson for the terrorist group, Ewwas Eli, broke the news to a Russian media outlet.

Manbij has been a source of dispute between Ankara and the United States as the Turkish government has cautiously insisted that the terrorist group leave the area and retreat east of the river Euphrates.

Meanwhile, an SDF authority, speaking to Sputnik, claimed that the U.S. has recently sent 200 troops and armored vehicles to the group. The authority contended that the number of armored vehicles is around 50.

"Because there is a need," the authority said.

Even though the PYD's armed wing the People's Protection Units (YPG) had announced, in November 2016, that it was withdrawing from Manbij, it turned out, the militants actually did not. They instead turned their gaze westwards on al-Bab and tried to disrupt the Free Syrian Army's (FSA) anti-Daesh fight around the town.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reiterated that Turkey would not allow the presence of an independent terrorist state along its border.

He said, "After the liberation of al-Bab from Daesh terrorists, Turkey's new target in Syria is Manbij. Manbij is a city that belongs to the Arabs."

Upon Ankara's harsh reaction to the PKK presence in Manbij, the terrorist group forged an alliance with Russia, the Assad regime and the U.S. and the area is now protected by Russia on the west and by the U.S. on the northern front.

On Feb. 23, the Turkish army and FSA units successfully cleared the northern Syrian town of al-Bab from Daesh terrorists. Earlier in March, Erdoğan said Turkey's next target in Syria was the YPG-held town of Manbij.

The PKK has long been carrying out a plan to form an autonomous state in Syria. The group's Syrian wing the PYD's goal of connecting its cantons in northern Syria was shattered by Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield.Despite Ankara's resolute remarks about eliminating the YPG in Manbij, the group remains an important partner for Washington as the U.S. has been working closely with the YPG on the ground in Syria.

The YPG, with strong U.S. backing, has been carrying out the so-called Wrath of Euphrates operation to retake Raqqa. According to the latest reports, the Trump administration will continue working with the group in its effort to recapture the Daesh capital in Syria.

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