Dec 07 2018

Turkey and US agreed for “concrete progress” on Syria’s Manbij

Turkey and the United States agreed to make concrete progress on the roadmap of northern Syria’s Manbij by end of the year, a joint statement released by the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

“Turkey and the United States share a commitment to address effectively the security concerns of both countries consistent with their obligations to one another as Allies, and look forward to continued progress on issues of mutual interest regarding the ongoing crisis in Syria,” the ministry said.

The Turkish-U.S. High-Level Working Group on Syria on Friday met for the third time in Ankara. The group included the U.S. special representative for Syria James Jeffrey and Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar and some senior officials from both sides.

The group agreed to continue to work on joint planning with respect to some Syrian territories as mentioned in the Manbij Roadmap.

“They committed to accelerated and concrete progress on the Manbij Roadmap by the end of the year, and both sides agreed to increase the frequency of Working Group meetings on Syria,” the joint statement said.

The meeting came after Jeffrey on Dec. 3 said Washington wanted the Astana process — the three-way negotiations between Turkey, Russia and Iran — to be brought to an end.

The meeting is part of a mechanism established between Ankara and Washington for discussions on problematic issues between the two NATO allies in Syria, such as the presence of the Syrian Kurds, and for further cooperation in the war-torn country.

The roadmap declares the withdrawal of Syrian Kurds from Manbij to the east of the Euphrates and the establishment of a new city council by the local Arabs.

As agreed by the two NATO allies in June, Turkish and U.S. forces are currently carrying out patrols in Manbij, as a part of the roadmap.