Tensions between Turkey and US-backed SDF continue near Manbij

A spokesperson of the Manbij Military Council (MCC) of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced on 5 March that Manbij remains under the protection of United States-led alliance. The announcement comes days after Turkish and Free Syrian Army forces clashed with the MCC in the areas west of Manbij in Aleppo governorate from 2 March.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Turkey would attack Kurdish forces in Manbij to leave the area to "its true owners". Clashes have continued despite the deal between Russia, Syria and the MCC, under which the MCC will give up parts of western Manbij to Assad’s regime. General Joseph Votel of CENTCOM warned last week that Turkish intervention in Manbij would only hinder the fight against Islamic State. Although Turkey sees Kurds as a terrorist group, the administration of former US President Barack Obama supported it in the conflict as an ally. The new United States administration’s policy on PYD is still emerging. US Ltg. Stephen Townsend, the head of the anti-IS Operation Inherent Resolve, said on 28 February Kurds would be included in Raqqa's liberation. Turkish officials said that they were ready to ''clean'' Raqqa, but they also made clear their opposition to the involvement of Kurds in the operation.

About author: Umay Atik

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