The delicate U.S.-Turkey deal has been long in the making. It could ease tensions between Washington and Ankara, NATO allies whose relations have soured over their respective Syria policies. The deal could also force a realignment of troops along the volatile Syria-Turkey frontier, meeting a long-standing Turkish demand to push the Kurdish militia known as YPG east of the Euphrates River.
The Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) said its military advisers would leave the town of Manbij a day after Turkey and the United States said they reached an agreement on the armed group's withdrawal. In a statement on Tuesday, the YPG said its fighters withdrew from Manbij in November 2016, but military advisers had remained to work with the Manbij Military Council. "We affirm that our forces will heed the call when necessary to offer support and help to the people of Manbij should it be needed," the statement said. Turkey was infuriated by US support for the Kurdish fighters and threatened to push its offensive in the Afrin region of northern Syria further east to Manbij, risking a confrontation with American troops stationed there. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who discussed Manbij with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday, said YPG personnel withdrawing from Manbij would be disarmed.