The Manbij Military Council at a press conference on Wednesday. Photo: MMC
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Manbij Military Council thanked departing Kurdish advisors for their help and warned Turkey against destabilizing northern Syria.
Shervan Derwish, spokesperson for the Council, said they are capable of ensuring the security of Manbij and accused Turkey of “disrupting the peace of the region with the policies it pursues” and trying to “stir up” northern Syria.
Turkey’s policies are creating instability, forcing people to leave their homes, Derwish said in a press conference. The many people displaced because of conflict between Syrian militias backed by Turkey west of the Euphrates River are becoming a “great burden for us,” he said, stressing that a stable and secure Manbij will benefit Turkey.
“The Turkish state has brought nothing but destruction to the region so far,” he concluded.
The Kurdish YPG force announced on Tuesday that they were withdrawing the last of their advisors from Manbij.
That announcement came a day after Washington and Ankara announced they had reached an agreement on a road map for the future of Manbij.
Turkey considers the YPG a branch of the PKK and has long railed against American backing for the Kurds in the war against ISIS.
According to Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, the road map will see the YPG withdraw from the city and security taken over by joint Turkish-American patrols. US officials have not confirmed the details.
The Manbij Military Council has maintained that they are distinct from the YPG and are a local organization.
Derwish detailed the history of the Council that was formed on April 4, 2016 in order to lead the military operation against ISIS in the northern Syrian city.
The Council requested assistance from the Kurdish YPG and the global coalition and the operation against ISIS was discussed in a meeting at Turkey’s Incirlik airbase, with Turkish and American officials were in attendance.
At that meeting, the decision was made for the operation “with the participation of Turkey,” he said.
The city was liberated from ISIS on August 15, 2016. The Council took over security for the city on November 16, 2016 and the YPG withdrew their forces from the city though a group of advisors remained for training purposes at the request of the Manbij authorities.
“Today, two years later, our Council has become capable of fulfilling training and defense missions by itself. At this time, an agreement was reached for the withdrawal of the YPG advisory group from Manbij,” he said, extending gratitude to the YPG for their assistance.