Turkey calls for US pullback from Manbij

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu / AFP PHOTO / YASIN AKGUL

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Saturday called on the United States to withdraw personnel from the Kurdish-held town of Manbij in northern Syria, amid tension that escalated between Ankara and Washington following Turkey’s operation in the Kurdish-controlled Afrin region of Syria.

According to an AFP report, Çavuşoğlu said in Antalya that it is “necessary for them [the US] to immediately withdraw from Manbij,” where Washington has a military presence.

Turkey on Jan. 20 launched a military operation in the northern Syrian region of Afrin, which is controlled by the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).

Calling on the US to have the PYD to lay down all their weapons, Çavuşoğlu said, “They [the US] should take back the weapons they provided.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday reacted to calls from the US to wrap up an operation in the Afrin region of Syria, defying Washington and saying that Manbij would be the next target.

Manbij is controlled by the Kurdish-led, US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

Turkey sees the PYD as the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

President Erdoğan on Oct. 8 said Turkey would not allow a Kurdish corridor in Syria extending along the Turkish border to the Mediterranean.

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