Displaced residents of the northern Syrian city of Manbij, which was held by the PKK-affiliated terrorist group the People's Protection Units (YPG), say they look forward to going home once Turkish security forces fully clear the city.
Forcefully displaced by the YPG terrorist group in Syria's north, residents of Manbij told Anadolu Agency (AA) that they long for the day to return to their homes, since Turkish troops took control of the strategic district. They referred to Turkey's recent joint agreement with the Unites States to withdraw the YPG from Manbij. The city, populated mostly by Arabs before YPG, has been held by the group since 2016.
Speaking to AA, Um Abdullah, who fled to Turkey after the terror group invaded their lands in Manbij, said they left their homes after facing oppression by terrorists.
"They forcefully armed our children. This is our homeland. The so-called government is not ours," Um Abdullah said. She said Manbij will never be free as long as the terrorists remain.
"They [the YPG/PKK] are harassing the people. They bother our children and daughters. We want to freely live in Manbij and want Turkey to eliminate our homeland from terrorists," she said.
Another local from Manbij, Ahmed Muhammed Horan said: "Turkey has always been on our side. We were forced to flee to Turkey. We came to our lands during Eid to visit our families after a very long time.
"We were able to see them with the help of Turkish soldiers and the Free Syrian Army (FSA). We long for Turkish army to eliminate terrorists from Manbij," he added.
Mahmoud Nour, a member of the national army linked to the Ankara-backed FSA, said people will be able to return to their own lands once the terrorists are eliminated from Manbij.
Turkey and the U.S. have set a three-month timetable to complete tasks they agreed on in a deal on Syria's Manbij.
The Turkish military yesterday completed its 11th round of patrolling in the northern Syrian city of Manbij as part of a deal with the U.S. to rid the area of the group.
In a message posted on its official Twitter account, the Turkish General Staff said both countries' forces conducted separate coordinated patrols in the area between the Operation Euphrates Shield region and Manbij. Turkey had cleared several towns in northern Syria, south of Turkey's border towns of Kilis and Gaziantep, of Daesh terrorists during Operation Euphrates Shield, which was launched in Aug. 2016 and ended in March 2017.
The first patrols by Turkish and U.S. troops in the region began on June 18.
The Manbij deal between Turkey and the U.S. focuses on the withdrawal of the PKK-affiliated YPG terror group from the city in order to stabilize the region.
Should the Manbij model prove to be a success, Turkey will push for a similar arrangement in eastern Syria. Turkey has said the presence of terrorist forces near its border constitute a threat and has launched military operations and other efforts to rid the region of terror groups.