Syrian Kurds to pull out of key town, easing U.S.-Turkey rift

A U.S. soldier sits on his armored vehicle on a road leading to the tense front line with Turkish-backed fighters in Manbij, northern Syria, on April 4.
(Hussein Malla / Associated Press)

A Syrian Kurdish militia says it’s pulling out of a key northern Syrian town, potentially easing a serious rift between the United States and Turkey.

The People’s Protection Units, known by their Kurdish acronym YPG, said in a statement Tuesday that its advisors had completed their mission to train the local forces, the Manbij Military Council, to defend the town of Manbij.

The development follows an announcement Monday from Turkey, saying it had reached an agreement with the U.S. over the future of the town.


Both the YPG and the Manbij Military Council are backed by the U.S., straining Washington-Ankara relations.

Ankara considers the YPG a terrorist group tied to a Kurdish insurgency within Turkey and has demanded for over a year that the Kurdish fighters leave Manbij.