Erdogan confirms Turkey-US patrols in Syria's Manbij

Patrols in line with agreed-upon roadmap

Erdogan confirms Turkey-US patrols in Syria's Manbij

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday confirmed Turkish Armed Forces in cooperation with U.S. troops had begun patrolling the northern Syrian city of Manbij.

Erdogan’s remarks came during his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s election rally in the Black Sea province of Samsun.

Armored vehicles belonging to the Turkish army were stationed around Sajur river which runs through the town of Jarabulus, in the area where Operation Euphrates Shield took place, and Manbij.

Operation Euphrates Shield, which began in August 2016 and ended in March 2017, was aimed at eliminating the terrorist threat along the Turkish border with the use of the Free Syrian Army, backed by Turkish artillery and air cover.

The joint forces carried out patrols in an area overlooking the U.S. base in Syria's town of Dadat.

The patrols, in line with a roadmap devised by the U.S. and Turkey on the issue of Manbij, lasted around three hours.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also confirmed the launch of the joint patrols during a meeting with civil society representatives in Istanbul.

 “As of today, our soldiers have also begun their duty in Manbij. They are working with the U.S. to liberate Manbij from terrorist elements,” Yildirim said.

At a news briefing on the issue, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said: "[Turkish forces] have also started entering Manbij. The YPG [terrorists] will be repelled from Manbij."

Cavusoglu said the goal was to implement the previously agreed roadmap first in Manbij and then to continue in other cities.

"We aim to repel YPG [terrorists] from all areas they control and to stabilize these areas," Cavusoglu said, adding that the final goal was to leave these areas to the residents.

The existence of a roadmap was first announced after a meeting in Washington last week between Cavusoglu and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Turkey has said the presence of terrorist forces near its border constitute a threat, and has launched military operations and other efforts to rid the region of terrorists.

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

Should the model prove to be a success, Turkey will push for a similar arrangement in eastern Syria.

In its over-30-year terrorist campaign against Turkey, the PKK has taken some 40,000 lives. The YPG/PKK is its Syrian branch.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 18 Haziran 2018, 18:10