Turkey and the United States will oversee the withdrawal of Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants from the town of Manbij in northern Syria, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on March 13.
Speaking to reporters on his flight to Moscow, Çavuşoğlu said Turkey and the U.S. will decide on a plan to secure Manbij during talks on March 19. He also vowed that Turkish forces would go ahead with a military operation if those talks fail.
Turkey has not made any demands from the Syrian government regarding Manbij, Çavuşoğlu said, while adding that Ankara would “monitor” the return of weapons given to the YPG by the U.S., an issue that has strained ties between the NATO allies.
The U.S. has partnered with the YPG on the ground in Syria in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), prompting Turkey’s criticism over the militant group’s links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).