Turkey and U.S. to begin joint patrols in Syria's Manbij soon

Turkey and the United States have agreed to work on joint patrols in northern Syria's Manbij district, Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency quoted presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın as saying on Friday.

"The work on joint patrols in the Manbij area is almost complete. The Turkish Armed Forces coordinates this on the ground with its American counterparts. Those patrols and joint training will begin soon," he said.

The Manbij deal reached between Turkey and the United States in June focuses on the withdrawal of Syrian Kurdish forces - the People’s Protection Units (YPG) - from the city to stabilise the region, pro-government Daily Sabah said on Thursday.

Kalın said Ankara expected the Manbij roadmap to be implemented as planned with no delay, but, he said, the U.S. engagement with the Syrian Kurds was a source of concern for Turkey. The YPG forms the backbone of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces that is fighting against Islamic State in Syria.

Turkey considers the YPG to be the Syrian affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which has fought a three-decade insurgency against Turkish forces in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority southeast.

Kalın said it was unacceptable for the United States to continue to give arms and provide financial, political and media support to the YPG.

Turkey's National Security Council met late on Thursday and repeated Ankara's resolve to implement the Manbij roadmap and the Idlib deal in Syria, pro-government Daily Sabah said.

Turkey expects the implementation of the roadmap to clear the city of Manbij from what it called a terrorist organisation, the National Security Council said.

Kalın said Turkey would work in coordination with Russia to remove what he said were terrorist elements from the rebel-held northwestern Syrian province of Idlib.


Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi on Sept. 17 and announced the two countries had agreed to establish a de-militarised zone between Syrian government troops and rebel forces in Idlib.

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