Casualties reported in YPG attack in Manbij

Published 11.03.2019 00:02

Casualties have been reported in the northern Syrian province of Manbij, where the PKK terrorist group's affiliate, the People's Protection Units (YPG), carried out a bomb attack on Saturday.

The explosion occurred near a YPG-controlled area, where the Sheikh Akil cemetery is located, according to local sources.

There were dead and injured in the attack, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

On Jan. 21, a car-bomb attack targeted a U.S. military convoy in Syria's northwestern al-Hasakah province, as it was passing through a checkpoint run by the YPG terrorist organization. A U.S. soldier was heavily injured in the attack.

Turkey and the U.S. established a mechanism to address separate issues in working groups, including the stabilization of Manbij and to prevent undesirable clashes, following a visit by former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Ankara in February 2018.

In order to prevent the PKK and its extensions from tightening its grip in northeast Syria and disrupting peace efforts in the region, Turkey aims to accelerate the Manbij process that was launched in June with the U.S. As part of the deal, Turkey and the U.S. agreed to work on the withdrawal of the YPG from Manbij. The aim of the Manbij deal is to ensure security and stability in the province by eliminating YPG terrorists, who currently control the region in northern Syria and ultimately handing the administration of the province to a body consisting of local people.

Manbij and its surrounding areas have remained under the control of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) since August 2016. The YPG-dominated group ousted Daesh terrorists who had captured the town from moderate opposition in January 2014.

While Turkey seeks to preserve the territorial integrity of Syria, a resolution of the conflict remains elusive due to the U.S. support for the YPG, which pursues a separatist agenda in the country.

Previously, Turkey targeted the YPG in two cross-border operations, Operation Euphrates Shield, launched in August 2016, and Operation Olive Branch in January 2018, as well as through air and artillery strikes.

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