US, Turkey begin joint patrols in Syrian city


"The real importance of France & Germany going to Turkey to meet Putin & Erdogan is that they are effectively hiving off from the US", Joshua Landis, a prominent Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma, wrote on Twitter.

The two countries have been working to avert direct confrontation, even as Turkey aims to crush the Kurdish YPG militia.

Both the European Union and the USA classify the PKK as a terrorist organization, but they differentiate between the PKK and other Kurdish groups.

Turkey and the United States carried out coordinated but independent patrol near Manuja. Soon after the Kurds announced the withdrawal of military advisers from the city.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised Tuesday that Turkey had plans to target US -backed Kurdish forces in Syria.

A Reuters journalist saw a convoy of six military vehicles, some flying the USA flag and others flying the Turkish flag, driving about 20km from Manbij.

The patrols are taking place along the dividing line between territory controlled by the SDF-allied Manbij Military Council and a Turkish-controlled area in northern Syria. Ankara has always been voicing that it will not allow a terror corridor along its borders and asking for an acceleration in the implementation of the Manbij deal with the U.S.

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

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An official with a US -backed militia says joint U.S.

Syria's Foreign Ministry is complaining to the United Nations about airstrikes carried out by the USA -led coalition against the Islamic State group citing new mass graves discovered.

The US has been in touch with Turkey and a Kurdish-dominated Syrian militia to emphasise the need "to de-escalate the situation", he said.

However, last week Islamic State fighters launched one of their deadliest attacks this year against the SDF.

The SDF says it lost 14 fighters, while the Observatory says the death toll was much higher.

The escalation comes a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his party lawmakers that the military was preparing to launch an operation against Kurdish forces east of the Euphrates River. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in September that autonomous structures in the eastern part of the river that are under the direct control of the U.S. have been threatening Syria's territorial integrity.

"Ankara thinks that the terror groups on the eastern part of the Euphrates are undermining Syria's unitary structure and threatening Turkey's territorial integrity", he told Arab News.

"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.