Kurdish YPG militia says to depart Syria's Manbij to head to Raqqa

Reuters , Wednesday 16 Nov 2016

Syrian families receive aid packages by Al-Sham Humanitarian Foundation in the rebel-held neighbourhood of al-Marjah in the northern city of Aleppo on November 15, 2016. ( AFP PHOTO)

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.

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