ISTANBUL, Oct 14 (XINHUA/APP): Turkey is currently in the process of implementing what it has previously decided about the Kurdish-held city of Manbij in northern Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday.
“According to our reciprocal agreement with the United States on Manbij, terror organizations should have evacuated the city within 90 days,” Erdogan told reporters at the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul before leaving for Azerbaijan.
“A year passed, and Manbij has to be deserted,” said the Turkish leader.
Turkey launched the so-called Operation Peace Spring on Wednesday against the Kurdish militia known as the People’s Protection Units (YPG), with a view to ensuring its border security and the safe return of the Syrian refugees being sheltered in Turkey by clearing the Kurdish fighters from the east of the Euphrates River in Syria.
Speaking in Istanbul a day earlier, Erdogan said the operation would be completed after Turkish forces have pushed to a depth of 30-35 km into Syrian territory and taken control of Hasaka and Ayn al-Arab.
The Syrian army on Sunday reportedly started moving toward the northern region to “confront the Turkish aggression on Syrian soil” and would enter Manbij and Ayn al-Arab after a deal was reached between the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and Russia.
Speaking about the situation in Ayn al-Arab in Istanbul on Monday, Erdogan said he does not think any problem would occur there as Russia has shown a “positive approach.”
Erdogan also noted that Turkey has been conducting talks with both the United States and Russia about the situation in Manbij and Ayn al-Arab.
The road map on Manbji agreed upon between Turkey and the United States in June last year, which involves, according to Ankara, the YPG’s withdrawal from Manbij and the town’s joint control by Turkish and U.S. forces, was not implemented as Ankara had repeatedly accused Washington of stalling on the issue.