Kurdish militia YPG to depart Syria's Manbij after training, U.S. diplomat says

November 16, 2016 2:57 AM EST

Kurdish fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG) greet each other in the northeastern city of Hasaka, Syria, August 21, 2016. REUTERS/Rodi Said


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ISTANBUL/BEIRUT (Reuters) - The Kurdish YPG militia will pull its forces from the Syrian city of Manbij and withdraw east of the Euphrates River in order to participate in the campaign to liberate the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa, it said in a statement.

U.S. special envoy Brett McGurk described the move as a "milestone", saying on Twitter that all YPG units would depart Manbij after training local units to maintain the city's security against Islamic State.

Turkey has repeatedly called for the YPG to withdraw east of the Euphrates. Ankara views the militia as a hostile force with deep links to Kurdish militants who have fought a three-decade insurgency on Turkish soil. Ankara has also said YPG fighters should not be involved in the planned Raqqa offensive.

(Reporting by Nick Tattersall in Istanbul and Ellen Francis in Beirut; Writing by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by David Dolan)



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