US Defies Turkey’s Demands, Won’t Withdraw From Manbij

Centcom Chief: US Not Pulling Back

Turkey’s demands that the US immediately and unconditionally withdraw from the Syrian city of Manbij have been rejected, with Central Command chief Gen. Joseph Votel saying that the US has no intention of withdrawing just because Turkey says to.

Gen. Votel says that the US is not looking at pulling back in Syria, adding that the US remains focused of fighting ISIS, despite ISIS having very little remaining territory in Syria.

Turkey invaded Syrian Kurdistan earlier this month in Afrin District, and has indicated that Manbij will be invaded next. Deputy Premier Bozdag has said US troops may be targeted by Turkish forces for helping the Kurds.

This has been a problem long coming, as Turkey has been complaining about US support for the Kurdish YPG for years, and has telegraphed that they’d eventually invade Syria to get them. The US has mostly just ignored those warnings.

US officials don’t seem to have a great handle on what to do now that the Turks are invading, beyond urging them to focus on ISIS. The reality, however, is that Turkey believes they’ve already defeated ISIS, at least on the border, and the YPG are their only focus now.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.