Erdogan confirms Turkey-US patrols in Syria's Manbij

Irving Hamilton
June 19, 2018

Syria said on Tuesday it rejected the presence of Turkish and USA forces around the northern town of Manbij, a day after soldiers of the two countries began patrolling the area.

The Manbij roadmap was announced after a meeting in Washington between Cavusoglu and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The United States has begun "coordinated but independent patrols" with Turkey near the volatile northern Syrian city of Manbij, the Pentagon confirmed to VOA on Monday.

In a statement, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) also announced the beginning of the mission.

The US Senate overwhelmingly voted late on Monday to block the sale of the F-35 fighter jet to Turkey over the country's military deals with Russian Federation and continued detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson.

Turkey has said the presence of terror forces near its border constitute a threat and has launched military operations and other efforts to rid the region of terrorists. Earlier this month Turkey and the United States endorsed a tentative deal to overcome months of dispute over the town, in which the YPG would withdraw from Manbij and Turkish and USA forces would jointly maintain security and stability there. The YPG/PKK is its Syrian branch.

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"As of today, our Turkish soldiers have also begun their duty in Manbij".

"If they do not, then we will take them by their hand back to where they came from", said Yıldırım.

The U.S. Senate's decision to pass a bill prohibiting the sale of Lockheed Martin's F-35 jets to Turkey is unfortunate and against the spirit of strategic partnership, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Tuesday.

The deal focuses on the withdrawal of the PKK-affiliated YPG terror group from the northern Syrian city and stability in the region.

The PKK - listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the USA and the European Union - resumed its armed campaign against Turkey in July 2015.

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