Operation Olive Branch: Turkey orders US to immediately withdraw from Syrian city
ANKARA – Turkey has urged the United States to “immediately withdraw” from Manbij in northern Syria, after Washington pledged to stop arming the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said “it’s necessary for them [US] to immediately withdraw from Manbij,” the Alaraby reported. The Turkish presidency announced earlier on Saturday that Washington would “not give weapons to the YPG” 50,000-strong militia, relaying a phone call on Friday evening between US National Security Advisor HR McMaster told Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin. Turkey launched “Operation Olive Branch” on 20 January against the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units militia, supporting Syrian opposition fighters – including the Free Syrian Army – with ground troops, armour, artillery and air strikes.