ANKARA (Reuters) - The United States must hold its promise to ensure the Kurdish YPG militia withdraws its fighters to the east of the Euphrates river, the Turkish government spokesman said on Monday, applying pressure on Washington to enforce a Turkish red line.
“We know PYD/YPG elements are still present. We are asking once again for the United States to keep their promise and have the PYD/YPG retreat to the east of the Euphrates,” spokesman Numan Kurtulmus said after a cabinet meeting.
Turkey has sent troops into northern Syria to drive out Islamic State from the border area, but also to ensure Kurdish militia fighters are not encroaching on its territory. It has said it wants the Kurdish militia, which is supported by Washington, to withdraw to the east of the Euphrates.
Kurtulmus also repeated Ankara’s refusal to take part any operations against Islamic State in Raqqa, the Islamist group’s heartland in Syria, or Mosul, the largest city they hold in northern Iraq.
Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Luke Baker