US-backed Manbij Military Council says ready to defend the city against Turkish threats

In a statement the US-backed Manbij Military Council (MMC) said that Turkish state’s threats against Manbij, and its policies endanger the peace in the region.

The statement by MMC is as follows;

“As Manbij Military Council, following the declaration of our establishment on 4 April 2016, we launched a military campaign against ISIS to liberate the city and its villages on 1 June 2016. In order for the city and civilians to be freed from ISIS organization, we asked for support from the YPG and the International Coalition.

On this basis, a meeting was held at the İncirlik base in Turkey. The meeting was attended by US and Turkish officials and a delegation from Manbij Military Council that included former commander martyr Adnan Abu Amjad. The Minbij battle was discussed during the meeting and an agreement was reached with the participation of Turkey as well. Then the military campaign was launched and lasted for more than two months. Consequently, Manbij Military Council and the YPG, with the support of the International Coalition, freed the city on 15 August 2016. After security was ensured, thousands of residents returned to Manbij.

On 16 November 2016, we as Manbij Military Council took over the military and security administration of Manbij. During this process, YPG announced their withdrawal from the city in an official statement. This was done with a military ceremony.

As Manbij Military Council, we continued our efforts for the defense of the city and organisation. On this basis, a group from the YPG remained in Manbij for training purposes on our demand. This was an advisory group for the Manbij Military Council on training issues. This work was carried out in coordination and consultation with the International Coalition. Today, after two years, our Council has become capable of fulfilling training and defense missions itself. At this point, an agreement was reached on the withdrawal of YPG advisory group from Manbij.

As Manbij Military Council, we thank the YPG once again fort he support their military advisory groups provided to our Council. We also thank the International Coalition forces, and we state that the resistance of all parties in the liberation of our city from ISIS is very valuable to us.

As Manbij Military Council, we state that we can ensure the security of Manbij and its border against external dangers and threats. We would like to remind the Turkish state that it is disrupting the peace of the region with the policies it pursues and tries to put into practice in the region. The Turkish state imposes its own policies on the people and wants to stir up the Northern Syria region as a whole. In Jarablus, al-Bab, Azaz and Afrin, conflicts, abduction, arrest and turmoil are taking place. Establishment of a safe environment where thousands of displaced people can live, and a return to the villages of Manbij is for the benefit of Turkey.

The outgrowth of refugees displaced due to the conflicts among Turkish-backed armed groups in Jarablus and al-Bab, has become a great burden for us. In addition, efforts to change the demography in Afrin and al-Bab continue and the situation here has been documented by the UN as well.

This is an indication of the ending of the Turkish state ruling that seeks to eliminate the peace and change the demography in the region. For this very reason, dozens of gang groups affiliated to the Turkish state block the roads and levy taxes from the people. They abduct children, women and youth and try to desolate the region. They do not allow the civilian population to return to their villages and lands. The Turkish state has brought nothing but destruction to the region so far. This reality is also proved by the documented situations in al-Bab, Jarablus, Azaz and Afrin on daily basis, clearly exposing the unrest dominating the region.

However, despite all the threats it is facing, Manbij has been leading a safe and peaceful life in itself since the day it was liberated.”