Turkey, US agree on clearing Syrian regions of YPG, FM Çavuşoğlu says

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ANKARA, TURKEY - JUNE 25: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu addresses the Representatives of the American Muslim Community at the Foreign Ministry Building in Ankara, Turkey on June 25, 2018. Mustafa Kamaci / Anadolu Agency

Turkey and the US agree that other Syrian regions will be rid of People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants, considered by Turkey to be an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Syria, after the northern city of Manbij is cleared of them, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Friday, citing Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

Speaking on Anadolu’s “Editor’s Desk,” Çavuşoğlu said, “There is a clear statement in our roadmap [with the US] that we will move on to other areas after Manbij [has been cleared of PKK/YPG terrorists].

“This was discussed and evaluated in our working group meetings, and we reached a consensus on the subject.”

The roadmap was announced last month after a meeting in Washington between Çavuşoğlu and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The deal focuses on the withdrawal of the YPG armed group from Manbij and bringing stability to the region.

About Turkish army patrols in Manbij, Çavuşoğlu said the withdrawal of the YPG from patrol areas in Manbij did not mean it had completely withdrawn from the area.

On Wednesday the Turkish military completed its ninth round of patrols in Manbij as part of a deal with the US.

On its Twitter account, the Turkish General Staff said both countries’ forces conducted separate coordinated patrols in the area between Manbij and the area previously cleared during Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield. The first patrols by Turkish and US troops in the region began on June 18.

In the PKK’s more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, more than 40,000 people have died, including women and children.

In reference to recent counterterrorism operations in northern Iraq, Çavuşoğlu said, “Our cooperation will further strengthen after a government is formed in Iraq, and we will do what is necessary for the PKK terror group to be cleared from Iraqi territories.”

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