The list of crimes committed by the PKK-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG) keeps growing with the group now being accused of extortion.
Sources claimed that the terrorist group charged money from locals fleeing Manbij, Syria in the face of YPG oppression.
Turkey's İhlas News Agency (İHA) reported yesterday that a series of video footage have emerged that purportedly shows YPG terrorists, at a checkpoint on the only exit route from the city, taking money from locals leaving Manbij for the liberated province of Jarablus. The ones who did not have money were forced to give up any valuables, including their cell phones and vehicles.
Despite the extortion, more than 700 people, desperate to escape YPG brutality, abandon the city every day, sources said. According to reports, people waiting to pass the checkpoint formed long lines at the checkpoint on a daily basis. The Turkish and Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces have, on the other hand, beefed up security at the crossing points to Jarablus, dispatching additional military equipment and personnel. In Jarablus, the FSA forces have also set up checkpoints on the roads leading to Manbij. While Turkish-backed forces do not allow vehicles to pass as a security measure, local people can enter the city after some detailed inspection.
Manbij and surrounding areas have been under the control of U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by the YPG, since August 2016 after it ousted Daesh, who had captured the town from moderate oppositions in January 2014.
Turkey, however, strongly opposes YPG presence in Manbij. It has been a major sticking point in the strained relations between Turkey and the U.S., due to the latter's support for the YPG under the pretext of fighting Daesh. The YPG has organic organizational and operational links with the PKK, which is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S., the EU and Turkey.