No agreement with Turkish government over Manbij, says US State Department
The United States and Turkey have not reached a deal over the northern Syrian city of Manbij despite reports in Turkish press that the U.S. and Turkey will provide security for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that will be withdrawing from the region , US State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters on Tuesday.
Turkey and the United States have been negotiating over fate of Manbij - captured by U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from Islamic State (ISIS) in August, 2016 - for months; Turkey’s ongoing military operation into Syria has taken the sides on a collision course over the Syrian city, where the U.S. maintains military presence.
‘’Here’s what I can tell you. We don’t have any agreements yet with the Government of Turkey… We’re continuing to have ongoing conversations regarding Syria and other issues of mutual concern,’’ Nauert said.
US Department of State spokesperson said that the two sides had outlined the contours of a roadmap for further cooperation, and that includes on Manbij and added that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is looking forward to hosting his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoglu on in Washington on June 4 to further discuss the matter.
Nauert also responded to Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu’s statement that the U.S. ambassador to Turkey John Bass was responsible for the flow of drugs and refugees from Afghanistan, saying, ‘’I think it’s an absolutely ridiculous accusation.’’