Turkey insists: No YPG presence west of Euphrates

Turkey insists: No YPG presence west of Euphrates

Turkish FM Cavusoglu says US has assured Ankara that terrorist group will leave region once fight against Daesh ends in northern Syria

ANKARA (AA) - Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reiterated Tuesday that Ankara was against any terrorist YPG presence west of the Euphrates River in northern Syria.

"It is a different matter if the YPG wants to provide logistics support [against Daesh] in the east of the Euphrates, but once the operations are over, we do not want a single one of them in the west," Cavusoglu told during a live program aired on TRT Haber.

"The U.S has assured us about this. [That is] If they keep their promise. Because the YPG/PYD commits ethnic cleansing wherever it goes," he said.

The YPG is the armed wing of the PYD, which is considered by Turkey to be the Syrian affiliate of the terrorist PKK organization.

While the U.S. and the EU also designate the PKK as a terrorist group, Washington has refrained from labeling the PYD and the YPG similarly, calling the latter an “effective partner” in the fight against Daesh.

"It is unacceptable for a country that claims to always be at the forefront of the fight against terrorism to cooperate with YPG/PYD which keeps sending terrorists to Turkey and is behind the attacks in Ankara," he said, adding that Turkey had already made its opinion very clear on the matter, sharing it with the U.S., in particular President Barack Obama.

"Unfortunately, we see that this cooperation is still going on in some way," he said.

Noting the continuing presence of Daesh both in Iraq and Syria despite attempts to clear it out, Cavusoglu said whatever little gains made on the ground were not enough, repeating his call for a joint and strong strategy against the terrorist group.

“We are the ones who most want the Manbij pocket to be cleared [of Daesh] and sealed as this is the region from where we get the most attacks," Cavusoglu said, referring to an area of northern Syria located roughly between the city of Azaz and the Euphrates River, the northern boundary of which is a 98-kilometer (61-mile) stretch of the Syrian-Turkish border.

The strategically vital region is currently controlled by the Daesh terrorist group.

"The Syrian Democratic Forces [an alliance of anti-Daesh rebel groups dominated by the YPG] could be among this coalition, but we said that if they include any PYD members, then they must leave immediately once the operation is over," he said.

A U.S.-led anti-Daesh coalition is currently supporting two offensives against the terrorist group in both Iraq and Syria.

In western Iraq, the Iraqi army is currently attempting to retake the city of Fallujah, while in northern Syria the Syrian Democratic Forces -- which also includes a host of Arab, Christian and other fighters -- are heading towards Raqqah.

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