The United States’ decision to withdraw from Syria has launched a power play in the eastern part of the country. The area around Manbij is held by Kurdish rebels supported by U.S. forces.
A June agreement between Washington and Ankara called for the Kurds to withdraw. Russia has also weighed in, calling for the area to be turned back to the Syrian government.
CGTN’s Michal Bardavid reports.
Turkey has been very active along its’ border with Syria over the last few days. Another convoy carrying military vehicles and personnel came through Gaziantep’s railway station to reach the Syrian border on Wednesday. Meanwhile, a U.S. delegation is expected to visit Ankara this week to discuss the withdrawal of American troops form Syria.
That decision had been welcomed and partly triggered by Turkey as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reassured U.S. President Donald Trump that Ankara would finish the fight against ISIL in Syria. During the meetings, Turkey is also expected to stress that the U.S. must take back the weapons it provided the YPG in the fight against ISIL. Ankara still considers clearing Turkey’s border of YPG militants its main priority for a future operation, but Ankara has also emphasized there will be no stepping back in the fight against ISIL.
Turkey is also closely coordinating with Russia in the region. Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is expected to meet with Russian officials in the upcoming days – while Erdogan also announced he intends to meet with Russian President Putin to discuss the US decision to pullout from Syria.