US stance on PYD west of Euphrates a burning question

Turkey expects terrorist group to vacate the region after having seized control of strategic city from ISIL

US stance on PYD west of Euphrates a burning question

World Bulletin / News Desk

The PYD, the Syrian arm of the PKK extremist group, is supposed to vacate the west bank of the Euphrates River after having seized control of a strategic city there from ISIL Friday.

This is according to reassurances that the U.S. gave Ankara, said Turkey’s foreign minister.

Following some two-and-a-half months of fighting, the city of Manjib, located in Syria’s northwestern Aleppo province, has fallen to the U.S.-backed Syrian Arab Coalition and the PYD.

However, the PYD also has designs to take Jarablus and expand into northern Syria. By doing so the PYD would effectively erect a wall between Turkey and Syria, cutting the two countries off from each other.

Ankara has long warned the U.S. about the PYD's goals in the region, saying that moves which would risk Turkey's national security should be avoided.

Now Washington's stance on the issue is a burning question.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in June that Turkey would not tolerate the forces of the YPG – the military wing of the PYD extremist group – staying west of the Euphrates River. He said the U.S. promised that would not happen.

Turkish-Syrian border security and the advance of YPG-PYD forces in northern Syria have been key issues for Ankara. The two groups are designated extremist organizations by Turkey but not the U.S.

"What we expect is that the U.S. keeps its promises as part of our alliance relationship and that PYD forces withdraw from the region, leaving the administration, control, and security to the locals," said Oytun Orhan of the Ankara-based Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies (ORSAM).

He said the PYD cannot act independently and that the U.S. should put pressure on the PYD to withdraw completely from the western bank of the Euphrates.

Professor Mesut Hakki Casin from Istanbul's Ozyegin University agreed, saying Turkish-U.S. relations could face difficulties over Manbij.

He said Turkey would not accept that areas cleared of ISIL could be occupied by the PYD, adding:

"A plan which would also satisfy Turkey should be offered."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 13 Ağustos 2016, 13:56