Turkish troops to move into Manbij if Kurdish forces refuse to leave: deputy PM

Source: Xinhua| 2018-02-05 00:06:41|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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ANKARA, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- Defying the U.S. warnings, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag warned Sunday that Turkish troops will move into Manbij if the Kurdish forces refuse to leave.

If the Kurdish forces of the People's Protection Units (YPG), do not leave Manbij in northern Syria, Turkish troops "will move into Manbij and toward the east of Euphrates," Bozdag told the local channel CNN Turk.

On the possibility of a clash between U.S. and Turkish troops, Bozdag noted that Turkey does not want to clash with U.S. troops in Manbij or anywhere else in Syria, adding that the U.S., a NATO ally for Turkey, needs to show the same sensitivity regarding the issue.

"If U.S. soldiers wear uniforms of (YPG) terrorists and fight with them against the Turkish army, we will not have a chance to make the difference at this point," Bozdag said.

He also warned that Washington needs to tell U.S. soldiers not to face Turkish forces and stay away from the region.

"However, whoever cooperates with terrorists and carries out attacks against Turkish forces will receive the necessary response," he stressed.

Turkey regards the YPG as the Syrian affiliate of the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that is seeking autonomy in the southeast of Turkey.

Turkish troops launched "Operation Olive Branch" on Jan. 20 in a bid to remove the YPG militia from Syria's northwestern region of Afrin.

The U.S., which has cooperated with the YPG in fighting the terror group Islamic States in the past years, has urged Ankara to limit its military operations in Syria, while warning about the risk of a possible conflict with the U.S. troops based in Manbij if Turkish troops move on to capture the city.