US, Turkey plan to conduct combined patrols in Syria

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Washington, Aug 29 (IANS) The US and Turkey have planned to conduct combined patrols in Syria to enhance security there, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has said.

Joseph Dunford told reporters on Tuesday that the two nations had begun working together about two months ago on security in Syria, Xinhua news agency reported.

The patrols will be conducted in two phases with a focus on Manbij area.

“One is independent patrols with coordination and communication between Turkish forces, US and coalition forces. The second phase is combined patrols,” Dunford said.

The bilateral conversation in these respects is ongoing. We are both satisfied with the pace of our planning. We are talking about making some refinements to that security in the future, he added.

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The move came in line with the roadmap on Manbij, which focused on the withdrawal of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants from Syria, agreed to by Turkey and the US earlier in 2018.

Turkey regards the YPG as the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and has long been urging the US to remove the YPG from Manbij, where about 2,000 US soldiers are currently deployed.

Relations between Turkey and the US have been strained over Washington’s support for the YPG.

–IANS

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