Turkish military begins patrolling Syria's Manbij - pro-gov’t daily

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) has started patrolling northern Syria's Manbij in line with the roadmap agreed on by Ankara and Washington earlier this month, pro-government Daily Sabah quoted President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as saying on Monday.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on June 4 agreed to a roadmap over the withdrawal of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from Manbij, following months of negotiations between the two sides over the city where the United States maintains military presence.

The TSK has also announced the beginning of the mission, the daily said, citing local reports that Turkish soldiers escorted by a U.S. helicopters had entered the outer districts of Manbij.

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım confirmed that Turkish soldiers had begun their duties in Manbij on Monday, independent new siste t24 reported.

Following the United States-Turkey agreement, Çavuşoğlu publicly promoted it as ensuring that the Kurdish-dominated People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia, which captured Manbij from Islamic State (ISIS) in 2016 and which Turkey considers an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed Kurdish group which has been fighting in Turkey for over 30 years, would promptly withdraw from the city.

Ankara maintains that presence of ''terrorist forces'' near its border constitutes a threat, and has launched military operations, the most of recent of which began on Jan. 20, to rid the region of militants.