Turkey, US discuss security of Syria’s Manbij

Elias Hubbard
June 5, 2018

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his USA counterpart Mike Pompeo are expected to announce a roadmap for withdrawal of the YPG/PKK from the northern Syrian city of Manbij.

The agreement was reached during a meeting between Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington, DC, on Monday.

Last week, US State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said that the US-Turkey working group on Syria had met to discuss the situation in the country and other mutual concerns, adding that the two sides outlined the contours of a road map for further cooperation, including on the issue of Manbij.

But it will be carried out in less than six months, according to Cavusoglu.

In a joint statement, Pompeo and Cavusoglu said their countries would take steps "to ensure the security and stability in Manbij". -Turkish patrols and a new local governing administration based on the local population. Ankara claims Washington reneged on an agreement that the militia would withdraw after taking Manbij.

Ankara and Washington agreed on the "roadmap" for the future of the Syrian city of Manbij yesterday.

Turkey has been infuriated by USA support for the Kurdish YPG militia in Syria, which it views as a terrorist organisation, and has threatened to push its offensive in the Afrin region of northern Syria further east to Manbij, risking confrontation with United States troops stationed there. In response, a U.S. Senate committee has threatened to prevent Turkey from purchasing U.S. Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets.

He said Turkey rejected "threatening language" from the US on the issue, saying it is "not constructive".

Former U.S. ambassador to Turkey James Jeffrey told VOA's Turkish service that although there are problems between the United States and Turkey, the ties between the countries would not break down.

"This is the reason why Turkey, which is in urgent need of these weapons, has chosen to purchase them from Russian Federation", he added.

"But we do not think we will come to this stage", he noted.

Cavusoglu also said Pompeo had told him the Federal Bureau of Investigation is "seriously investigating the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) on USA soil" and a joint working group has been established on the extradition of Fetullah Gulen, the ringleader of the terror group.

"There is no reason for the U.S.to look upon us with suspicion". We did not make a mistake in this regard.

The two ministers exchanged views on bilateral and regional issues and reaffirmed their joint resolve to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, it said.

Turkey sees the YPG as an offshoot of the PKK, a Kurdish militant group in Turkey designated as a terrorist organisation by the US.

FETO was behind the July 15, 2016 defeated coup in Turkey which martyred 250 people and injured some 2,200.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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