Turkey will have nothing left to do in the Syrian town of Manbij once “terrorist organizations” leave the area, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday, hours after the Syrian army said it had entered the town, Reuters reported.
Turkey has threatened an assault on Manbij to drive out the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia, which it regards as a terrorist group. Erdoğan signaled on Friday that Turkey was not in a hurry to carry out the operation.
“In the current situation, we still support the territorial integrity of Syria. These areas belong to Syria. Once the terrorist organizations leave the area, we will have nothing left to do there,” Erdoğan told reporters after Friday prayers in Istanbul.
Earlier on Friday, the Syrian army said it had entered Manbij for the first time in years after the YPG urged Damascus to protect the town from the threat of Turkish attacks.
“It’s not just about Manbij, we are aiming to wipe out all terrorist organizations in the region. Our main goal is that the YPG take the necessary lesson here,” Erdoğan said.
Meanwhile, the main Turkish-backed Syrian rebel force said on Friday that its convoys, along with Turkish forces, were moving toward the frontline in the Syrian town of Manbij, in “full readiness … to start military operations to liberate” the town.
Turkey regards the YPG as a terrorist group and a threat to its own territory.