Nov 08 2018

Turkey, United States begin second round of northern Syria patrols

Turkish and U.S. troops began the second round of joint patrols on early Thursday in Manbij, the northern Syrian province held by Kurdish militants, Anadolu Agency reported. 

The patrol on Thursday centred around the Saju Stream, which is between the frontline in northern Syria's Manbij and the city of Jarabulus, which has been under the control of Turkish-backed militants since 2016, AA wrote.

The United States and Turkey have been conducting joint patrols in the region since Nov. 1, a sign of greater ties between the allies after Ankara’s fury that the United States worked with the Syrian Kurds in the battle against the Islamic State. Ankara wants Kurdish fighters belonging to the People's Protection Units, the backbone of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, and other groups it deems as terrorists to withdraw to the east of the Euphrates River. Turkey has been shelling border areas since the beginning of the month, with the United States calling on Turkey to “de-escalate” their operations. 

The joint patrols in Manbij are part of the “Manbij roadmap” deal between Washington and Ankara. Signed in June, the plan aims to ease tensions over differing Turkish and U.S. policies in northern Syria. Particularly, it aims to evacuate Kurdish forces from the city. 

The patrols do not plan on entering Manbij city, a U.S. official told Kurdistan24 on Nov. 1.