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Kurds deny Turkish reports of YPG withdrawal from Manbij

Up to 2,000 US troops are stationed in Manbij. [Getty]

Date of publication: 13 March, 2018

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Up to 2,000 US troops are already stationed in Manbij, and a Turkish incursion into the area could risk conflict between the two NATO members.

Kurdish officials in Syria on Tuesday denied Turkish statements that a joint US-Turkish force would replace Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militants in the Syrian town of Manbij.

Earlier, Turkey's foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, claimed that under an agreement with Washington, the Syrian Kurdish militia will leave and Turkish soldiers with US troops will ensure the town's security.

Cavusoglu said the US and Turkey would decide on a plan for securing Manbij during 19 March talks, but said Turkish military forces would carry out an operation if those failed.

Syrian Kurdish officials denied the reports.

Shervan Darwish, spokesman for the Kurdish-led Manbij Military Council, said members of the militia known as the YPG left the town soon after it was liberated from Islamic State militants in 2016.

Darwish says local forces are now in charge in Manbij and work closely with the US-led coalition, including in joint patrols.

The US State Department provided no details on the Turkish comments.

It said Washington and Ankara are committed to working out outstanding issues and that detailed discussions are still underway and still require approval.

Up to 2,000 US troops are already stationed in Manbij, and a Turkish incursion into the area could risk conflict between the two NATO members.

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