The United States and Turkey began joint patrols in Syria

Erika Holt
November 3, 2018

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

Maj. Gen. Christopher Ghika, deputy commander of operation Inherent Resolve, said recent training by Turkish and coalition forces will help them to protect Manbij civilians.

Over the past two years, Turkish forces have already swept into Syria to push YPG fighters out of territory west of the Euphrates in two separate military campaigns.

Turkish military advances into northern Syria over the past two years have put United States forces backing Kurdish YPG fighters directly in the path of advancing troops from Turkey. "We have completed our preparations, plans, programmes regarding this issue", he told members of his ruling Justice and Development Party in parliament. "In the near future will be held a more large-scale and effective operation to neutralize the terrorists", he added.

The move has come just four days after the Syria summit in Istanbul, attended by the leaders of Turkey, Russia, Germany and France.

Earlier this week, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based activist group, and SDF spokesman Kino Gabriel said Turkish forces shelled and fired on an area near the Syrian town of Tel Abyad on the Turkish border.

The US has some 2,000 troops in Syria, many of whom work with the SDF.

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Ankara considers the YPG to be a "terrorist offshoot" of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a bloody insurgency in Turkey since 1984 with the goal of forming an independent Kurdish state.

Russian state-affiliated news agency Sputnik quoted Pentagon spokesperson Sean Robertson as saying that the usa was "in touch" with both Turkey and the SDF to "de-escalate the situation" on Tuesday.

In June, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies reached an agreement that began with coordinated but independent patrols and the departure of Kurdish YPG forces from Manbij.

"We will destroy the terror structure east of the Euphrates River". The counterattack killed at least 72 SDF fighters and forced the Arab-Kurdish force to withdrawal from Hajin and halt operations as reinforcements were sent in.

The United States on Wednesday voiced concern over Turkey's strikes on Kurdish militia posts in Syria, which led a Kurdish-led force to suspend its fight against the Islamic State group. Turkey, however, still wants Kurdish forces in Manbij to withdraw from the town. Turkey had repeatedly threatened to attack the town despite the presence of USA forces in the area.

A total of 260,000 Syrian nationals have returned to a swathe of land in northern Syria where Turkey carried out a cross-border operation dubbed "Euphrates Shield", Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on November 1.

The Syrian rebel-affiliated Step News Agency reported on Thursday that Kurdish forces are moving armoured vehicles and heavy weaponry from eastern Deir Ezzor to Hassakeh, about 270 kilometres east of Kobani.

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