Turkey to U.S.: Withdraw Your Troops From Syria’s Manbij Immediately

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday called on the U.S. to immediately withdraw its troops from the Syrian town of Manbij ahead of military operations in the area by Turkish forces. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reportedly suggested military strikes in the area are imminent as Turkish forces wage an operation dubbed “Operation Olive Branch” against U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters in the region. That operation kicked off in the Syrian town of Afrin last week, prompting calls for restraint from the U.S. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned late Friday that he’s ready to risk a confrontation with the U.S. over the operation, however, vowing to send Turkish troops to Manbij, where up to 2,000 U.S. troops are stationed. The Turkish offensive “will continue until it reaches its goals,” Erdogan said. The Turkish government also said Saturday that the Trump administration had agreed to stop arming the Kurdish YPG militia, a group crucial to the U.S. fight against ISIS but considered a terrorist organization by Ankara. There was no immediate confirmation of that from Washington.