Dec 14, 2018 18:29 UTC
  • Turkish forces to enter Syria’s Manbij if US-backed YPG remains there: Erdogan

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan says Ankara will send its forces to the Syrian town of Manbij if the United States does not remove the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia from the area.

Erdogan made the remarks in an address to members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul on Friday days after he threatened to launch a new operation to target the fighters.

"Manbij is a place where Arabs live, but they have surrendered the area to the terror organization. Now we are saying that you should cleanse, remove them, or else we will enter Manbij. I am speaking very clearly," he warned.

Erdogan said Turkey was also determined to bring "peace and security" to areas east of the Euphrates, where the YPG controls an area stretching more than 400 km (250 miles) along the border toward Iraq.

The Turkish president compared the promised military campaign to an incursion into northern Syria in 2016 and another one, which was launched earlier this year by Turkish forces and their Syrian rebel allies, who still hold territory there seized from YPG and the Daesh terrorists.

Also on Wednesday, Erdogan said his country will launch an operation against the US-backed Kurds in northern Syria within days.

"We will start an operation to free the east of the Euphrates from the separatist terrorist organization in the next few days," Erdogan said during a speech in Ankara, referring to territory held by the YPG.

Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist organization and an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting for an autonomous region inside Turkey since 1984.