Now is the time completely clear the northern Syrian town of Manbij of Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants and leave the city to civilians, Turkey’s foreign minister said on Tuesday, the state-owned Anadolu news agency reported.
“There is a slight delay in the schedule, but the separate coordinated [Turkish and US] patrols in the Manbij region conducted up until now were important,” Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters in Geneva after a meeting on “Strategic Dialogue in the Western Balkans” at the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Çavuşoğlu was referring to patrols conducted by Turkish and US troops in Manbij as part of a deal to take over control of the region from militants of the YPG, considered by Turkish authorities to be the Syrian arm of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
He also emphasized that the deal should be implemented fully by the US, adding that despite delays caused by the US side, the deal is still working.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sept. 5 said a roadmap for Manbij agreed by Ankara and Washington in June was not progressing well.
“We are not at an ideal point [on Manbij]. Unfortunately the agreement made is not going forward in the same direction as the initial discussions,” he said.
Even though relations between the two NATO allies have been strained due to a court decision putting an American pastor under house arrest in July after almost two years of incarceration on terrorism charges, the two countries have maintained their partnership in northern Syria.