US, Turkey Begin Joint Patrols in Syria's Manbij

US, Turkey Begin Joint Patrols in Syria's Manbij

US, Turkey Begin Joint Patrols in Syria's Manbij

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erodgan and US President Donald Trump discussed Manbij and the wider situation in Syria in a phone call on Thursday, Erdogan's office stated.

The United States-led Coalition against the Islamic State (IS) on Thursday confirmed the start of joint Turkish-American patrols near Manbij.

The halting of the operation is a major setback for the U.S. and its allies and comes after Turkey threatened a new military operation targeting the Kurdish-led SDF.

American backing of the SDF has caused tensions with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey, which considers the YPG militia to be a terrorist organization tied to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) battling the Turkish army for almost four decades.

The US support of the Kurdish militia has strained relations with Turkey.

In 2016, Turkey launched Operation Euphrates Shield in border areas west of the Euphrates, aiming partly to drive out IS fighters and partly to prevent the YPG from advancing in those areas.

There are USA forces in the Manbij - which lies just 30 kilometers (19 miles) south of the Turkish border - and Washington has been closely working with the YPG in the fight against ISIS.

Turkish and United States troops are due to start conducting joint patrols in the Syrian city of Manbij later on Tuesday or Wednesday, Turkey's Defense Minister Hulusi Akar was quoted byAnadolu news agency as saying on Tuesday.

The plan foresees the withdrawal of the YPG from the region where American and Turkish soldiers were expected to conduct joint patrols.

Turkey's relations with the US have been badly strained over Washington's support for the Kurdish fighters, and while a direct confrontation between their forces is unlikely, Turkey's vow to clear the Kurdish force from areas where USA troops are stationed requires extreme care to avoid unintended American casualties.

A U.S. base near Manbij, Syria.

The Manbij deal focuses on the withdrawal of YPG militants from the city to stabilize the region northeast of the Aleppo province in northern Syria.

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.

"We have completed all preparations for the east of the Euphrates".

Terror group YPG/PKK announced it has halted operations against Daesh in Deir ez-Zor, eastern Syria as a reaction to Turkey's anti-terror operations in Ayn al-Arab (Kobani), northern Syria.

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.

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