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Erdogan says he does not believe US will disarm Kurdish militia

ANKARA: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he does not believe the United States will take back weapons from Kurdish militias in Syria.

In an interview with Turkish broadcaster NTV, Erdogan underlined the need to take back arms from the Kurdish groups in Manbij.

Despite the Turkish leadership calls for disarming the Kurdish group, a senior US Army general has said earlier this month that the US need to keep arming the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces following the planned US withdrawal from Syria.

Turkey has long stressed the importance of the United States retrieving the weapons Washington has given the YPG, the United States’ main partner against Daesh in Syria, which Turkey considers a terrorist organization.

“The generals with him said that they have the serial numbers, and they will collect the weapons when all is done. I do not find this sincere,” Erdogan said on Tuesday.

“If this withdrawal becomes a stalling method, our approach will be different,” he said, adding that 200 to 400 soldiers may stay, and 500 may stay from other US-led coalition forces.

Last week, the United States said it would leave a small peacekeeping group of 200 American troops in Syria for a period of time after a US pullout. A commander of US-backed Syrian forces called for 1,000 to 1,500 international troops to remain in the country to help fight Daesh and expressed hope the United States, in particular, would halt plans for a total pullout.