All Kurdish YPG have left Syria’s Manbij: local militia

BEIRUT (Reuters) – The last Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters left the northern Syrian town of Manbij on Sunday, the militia controlling the town said, fulfilling a longstanding Turkish demand that the YPG withdraw.

Turkey objects to the presence of the YPG in Syria near its border. It views the YPG as a terrorist group and an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade insurgency on Turkish soil. Washington sees the YPG as a key ally in the fight against Islamic State.

“The Manbij Military Council announces that the last batch of (YPG) military advisers completed its withdrawal on July 15, 2018, after completing their mission of military training and preparation of our forces…,” the militia controlling the town said in a statement.

The Manbij Military Council is a militia allied to the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northern Syria. It has repeatedly said there were no YPG fighters in Manbij, only some YPG military advisers.

The announcement came after Turkey and the United States reached a deal last month over Manbij after months of disagreement. Under that deal, the YPG would withdraw from Manbij and Turkish and U.S. forces would jointly maintain security and stability around the town.

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