US conducting Manbij operations with commitment to Turkey
The Pentagon said Monday it is committed to conducting Manbij operations consistent with commitments made between the U.S. and Turkey, Anadolu reported.
"We have been clear with all elements of this operation that the aim is to defeat Daesh in Manbij and return it to the control and governance of the local population," Pentagon spokesman Adrian Rankine-Galloway told Anadolu Agency.
Galloway said the U.S. is grateful for Turkey's partnership in the fight against Daesh and the aim of the ongoing operations by the U.S.-led Syrian Arab Coalition (SAC) in Manbij is to defeat the militant group and return it to Syrian Arabs.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter congratulated Manbij residents and the SAC for the "significant milestone" in successfully liberating Manbij. Carter said he appreciated the Turkish government for its support for the operation.
"The success in Manbij city will also help reinforce the growing isolation of Raqqa and enable us to achieve the next objective of our campaign in Syria - collapsing ISIL's control over that city," he said in a statement.
Manbij is historically an Arab city and the main group fighting Daesh in the city is the SAC. The Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) -- a group Ankara does not recognize as a legitimate Syrian opposition – is fighting alongside the SAC to defeat Daesh in Manbij.
Since operations began in May to liberate Manbij, the U.S. has promised Turkey the PYD would leave the area after the city's liberation.
Manbij lies west of the Euphrates River. Turkey wants PYD to return to east of the Euphrates after Manbij's liberation as the city is Daesh's key lines of communication between the Turkish border and Raqqa, the self-declared capital of the militants.
Asked what the recent efforts were in the city's liberation from Daesh, the Pentagon said the situation was "very fluid" but U.S. partners on the ground were "closing in" of the fight.
"The final positioning of forces is under the command and control of SAC and SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces]. We won't speculate as to a timeline," Rankine-Galloway said in an email.