Assad's forces take over positions from US-backed militia in northern Syria

Friday, 10 Mar, 2017

The Russian-backed Syrian army has benefited from this, creating a corridor to the Euphrates River that secures Aleppo's water supplies and suggests at least tacit coordination with us -allied Kurdish militia - at Turkey's expense.

The Council said the deal had been agreed with Russian Federation to "protect the line dividing the Manbij Military Council and the areas under the control of the Turkish army and Euphrates Shield". The Syrian regime has, so far, returned the favour. More recently, we have provided a range of social services and other emergency assistance in Turkey, reaching about 100,000 Syrian and Turkish men, women and children in 2016 alone.

On Tuesday, Operation Inherent Resolve told Sputnik that the coalition had deployed additional troops near Manbij to ensure there was no persistent YPG presence in the area.

"The Syrian conflict would then morph into a much larger conflagration, spelling the end of peace talks and leading to Turkey's further isolation", warned Logoglu.

Over the weekend, the USA moved a small number of troops and several Stryker combat vehicles into Manbij to support the Manbij Military Council, the mostly Syrian Arab group that has controlled the town since the ouster of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria a year ago.

YPG is considered a terror group by Ankara, linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which seeks greater rights and autonomy for Turkey's Kurdish minority and has waged a bloody campaign against the Turkish state since 1984.

"If this operation is carried out in this manner there will be a cost for Turkey-U.S. relations, because the YPG is a terrorist organization".

"So, it's highly unlikely for Turkey to take such a step now", he added.

"The Turkish military is present in Syria and carries out military operations there, and the Russian military continues activities to support the Syrian armed forces - this requires very close interaction and coordination", the Kremlin spokesman said.

"There is not a need for others to advance on it in attempts to "liberate" it", Davis was quoted as telling reporters.

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Since pushing the jihadists out of their al-Bab stronghold, fighting has focused on villages west of Manbij.

"Turkey knows the United States will not change its plans".

His announcement stood in stark contrast to previous threats from Ankara that it would strike the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) unless they withdrew from Manbij.

"Such a move would create many complications without any benefits", he cautioned.

Turkey has seized a swathe of Syrian land on its southern borders since launching its "Euphrates Shield" operation in August.

In a veiled criticism of Washington, the Turkish premier on Tuesday lashed out at "some allies' unfortunate" choice of Syrian Kurdish militia as possible partners in combatting IS. A Pentagon official said, yesterday, that the USA troops are in Manbij to "reassure and deter".

"It's quite natural for Syrian troops to be there, because that's Syrian territory". The U.S. has put its weight behind the Kurds, Arabs and various ethnic minorities that make up the SDF coalition.

The artillery will help "expedite the defeat of ISIS in Raqqa", he said, using another acronym for Islamic State.

The "reassure and deter" mission, as described by Davis, does not reflect a fundamental shift in the USA approach to combating IS in Syria.