US, Turkey start patrols in Manbij


ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish troops have begun carrying out duties in the northern Syrian town of Manbij, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim was reported as saying by NTV on Monday.

The Turkish forces will be patrolling the frontline between the Manbij council and the Turkish-backed Syrian rebels in the countryside of Manbij, which is close to the Turkish border, according to the Turkey-U.S. deal.

He also argued for the importance of the Manbij roadmap reached by Turkey and the US for Syria's future.

It was not immediately clear whether the independent patrols were separate from the joint actions agreed upon between Ankara and Washington earlier this month, but a spokesman for the Pentagon said the moves were being coordinated.

In a tweet, the Turkish Armed Forces said patrols were being carried out between Manbij and Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield area.

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State-run news agency Anadolu, headquartered in the capital, Ankara, said that Turkish armored vehicles have been patrolling "on the Manbij frontline". Turkey previously launched Operation Olive Branch on January 20 to eliminate the YPG from Afrin province in northwestern Syria.

The head of the militia controlling the town, the Manbij Military Council, confirmed Turkish troops had begun patrols. The People's Protection Units [YPG] terrorist organization in Manbij is the same as the Syrian regime soldiers.

Manbij has been controlled by the YPG, the United States main ally against Daesh, since 2016.

A specific sale of small arms to the presidential guard of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had already been blocked.

"Now the YPG is leaving here (Manbij)".