US, Turkey to begin patrols around northern Syrian town

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The defense minister also touched upon the Manbij deal between Turkey and the us, saying that "despite the promises" made for the YPG's withdrawal from the city, the group was still deployed there.

"Turkish attacks in the north and ISIS attacks in the south against our troops had forced us to stop our current operation temporarily against ISIS in the last pocket of it", the SDF said in a statement.

It was the second time this week Turkish artillery targeted Kurdish positions in northeast Syria, an area where troops of the USA -led coalition are also based.

The joint patrols are the latest stage in a roadmap agreed between Ankara and Washington to assuage Turkish concerns about Kurdish groups in Manbij - groups Turkey considers terrorists.

Turkey has expanded its military offensive to the eastern bank of the Euphrates River in northern Syria, a move experts believe is meant to put pressure on the United States to accelerate the implementation of a plan agreed by the two countries in June.

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Earlier this year, Turkish military forces supported Syrian opposition fighters in seizing the Afrin region, west of the Euphrates, from the YPG in a two-month air and ground offensive.

Palladino said the U.S.is fully committed to Turkey's border security but at the same time expressed Washington's commitment to the Kurdish-dominated Syrian forces.

Those Kurdish militia fighters, known as the People's Protection Units (YPG), are bolstered by Washington as part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) countering IS.

Turkish and USA soldiers have begun joint patrols around the city of Manbij in northern Syria aimed at averting clashes between Turkey and Washington's Kurdish allies, even as Ankara presses on with a new threatened offensive nearby to crush the Kurds.

The plan foresees the withdrawal of the YPG from the region where American and Turkish soldiers were expected to conduct joint patrols.

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As a result of the road map, the Manbij Military Council announced in July that all Kurdish militia who were associated with YPG had left.

"We will soon crush the terror organization in the east of the Euphrates with more comprehensive and effective operations".

"The joint patrols of Turkish and U.S. troops on which we have made plans and completed training and which we said would start, began at 1353GMT", Hulusi Akar said at the Turkish Parliament.

"We are going to destroy the terrorist structure in the east of the Euphrates".

Turkey has been fighting a Turkish group called the PKK inside its own borders since 1978. Erdogan has dismissed the Pentagon's concern that the military drive could compromise the battle against ISIS in eastern Syria, where the Kurdish force is a key combatant.

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"Offensive operations have been halted, defensive operations continue".

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