Turkey, US begin joint patrols near Manbij: Turkish defence minister

Charlene Craig
November 3, 2018

The U.S. has been in touch with Turkey and a Kurdish-dominated Syrian militia to emphasize the need "to de-escalate the situation", he said.

The forces of Turkey and the US-led coalition have been carrying out independent patrols in Manbij since June 18.

The Manbij deal between Turkey and the USA focuses on the withdrawal of YPG/PKK terrorists from the city to stabilize the region, which is in the northeast of northern Syria's Aleppo province. Turkey launched the operation in 2016 and ended in 2017 to drive away Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) militants and the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia from its border with Syria.

Turkish military advances into northern Syria over the past two years have put USA forces directly in the path of advancing troops from Turkey, Washington's main Muslim NATO ally.

Over the past few days, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation heavyweight Turkey has once again bombed the Syrian Kurdish forces who have been key to the effort to defeat the Islamic State, just as the jihadists launched a desperate counterattack in Syria, killing up to 70 pro-American forces.

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Turkish and USA troops began joint patrols in northern Syria on Thursday aimed at averting clashes between Turkey and Washington's Kurdish allies, but Turkey pressed on with a new threatened offensive nearby to crush the Kurds.

A United States base near Manbij, Syria.

Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Akar as saying that despite promises that the YPG and other Kurdish militias "will be removed from Manbij, the terror organizations are digging trenches there like they did in Afrin".

Earlier this year, Turkey and the United States agreed the YPG militia would withdraw from Manbij.

Despite the tension that would grow with the United States, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that his country had finalized plans for a "comprehensive and effective" operation that would target the USA -backed Kurdish groups in the east of the Euphrates River.

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Turkish authorities have been pointing out a possible move on east of the Euphrates River, as it aims to free its borders from terror threat.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to crush separatist Kurdish militants operating in Syria along his country's border, seeing them as an extension of the separatist Kurdish PKK group classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the USA and the European Union.

The PKK is blacklisted as a terror group by Turkey, the USA and the European Union.

Beirut-based analyst Nour a-Din al-Omar, who recently conducted research in Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria, suggests that some Kurdish political and military officials fear that their forces could once again be left to fend for themselves.

Past offensives halted at the banks of the river, in part to avoid direct confrontation with the US.

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