Erdoğan said Thursday that Manbij and Raqqa belong to the Arabs and Turkey’s next target in Syria is to liberate these two cities, respectively controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), controlled mostly by the PKK-affiliated Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), and the Daesh terror group. Speaking to journalists on the presidential plane during his return trip from Pakistan, Erdoğan reiterated that Turkey will not allow an independent terrorist state to be present along its border. “After the liberation of al-Bab from Daesh terrorists, Turkey’s new target in Syria is Manbij. Manbij is a city that belongs to the Arabs, and the SDF must also not be in Raqqa”, the Turkish president said. Answering a question regarding U.S. support to the SDF, Erdoğan noted that the new Trump administration does not seem to have yet reached a final decision as to how the operation to free Raqqa from Daesh should be organized. “Their chief of staff [U.S. Gen. Joseph Dunford], and the new head of the CIA [Mike Pompeo] came to Turkey and we too told them that the SDF must be excluded from the Raqqa operation. The presence of armed terrorists along its borders is unacceptable for Turkey”, Erdoğan said.