‘Timetable for stabilizing Manbij, Syria is clear’

Turkey's deputy prime minister on Wednesday said the timetable reached with the U.S. for ridding terrorists and establishing stability in Manbij, Syria is very clear.

"There is a very clear timetable. Ninety days of it were planned clearly, what and when will be done, all were designated," Bekir Bozdag said in the central Yogzat province, appearing on television.

The roadmap on Manbij was announced after a meeting in Washington on Monday between Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The deal focuses on the withdrawal of the PKK-affiliated YPG terror group from the northern Syrian city and stability in the region.

Bozdag said not only Manbij but also the area east of the Euphrates River will also be cleared of YPG/PKK.

"Of course, we prioritize [reaching] a solution east of the Euphrates with a political agreement like in Manbij," he added.

Bozdag said if those areas are not cleared of terror groups, Turkey has the right to eliminate the terrorist threats to Turkey.

"We would not hesitate to use this right," he added.

The YPG/PKK and PYD/PKK are Syrian offshoots of the PKK terror group, which has taken some 40,000 lives in its 30-year terrorist campaign against the Turkish state, including those of women and children.

Also speaking on Turkey's possible operation against the terrorist PKK's headquarters in Mt. Qandil, northern Iraq, Bozdag said: "Qandil is a hotbed of terrorism".

Bozdag said the Turkish military has carried out extensive air operations in Qandil in the past, including recently.

"The operations will continue from both the air and land whenever there is a need," he stressed.

Bozdag said Turkey's looming June 24 elections will not stop them from fighting terrorism.

He added that Iraq's central government does not have full control in northern Iraq.

If the central government had full control and had neutralized the terrorists, there would be no need for Turkey to carry out an operation there, he explained.

"However, there is an uncontrolled area there right now," he said.

Bozdag added that they will take steps on that issue together with Iraq's central government.

Airstrikes on PKK targets in northern Iraq, where the terror group has its main base in the Mt. Qandil region, near the Iranian border, have been carried out regularly since July 2015, when the PKK resumed its armed campaign.

Source: Anadolu Agency