Trump, Erdoğan confirm commitment to Manbij roadmap in phone call
United States President Donald Trump congratulated his Turkish counterpart President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on his success in the June 24 presidential and parliamentary elections in a phone call in which the two leaders also confirmed their commitment to “the Manbij roadmap,” Turkey’s presidential press office said on June 26.
The roadmap, which was announced on June 4, foresees the withdrawal of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from the northern Syrian city of Manbij.
The U.S. considers the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), dominated by YPG militants to be its main ally in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria.
Ankara has long pushed for the removal of YPG, which it considers the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has been designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU.
While Trump called Erdoğan to congratulate him after his elections victory, the two leaders also stressed the importance of executing the Manbij roadmap and the continuation of the joint fight against terrorism, according to state-run Anadolu Agency.
The White House later stated Trump also reaffirmed “the strong bonds between the United States and Turkey as NATO allies and strategic partners.”
“President Trump and President Erdoğan recommitted to efforts to resolve issues in the bilateral relationship and to increase cooperation in addressing shared strategic challenges,” a National Security Council spokesman said in a statement.
“We concluded a roadmap with Turkey, and our discussions with them have been fruitful and productive, and we look forward to those to continue,” Brett McGurk, the special U.S. presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS (another acronym for ISIL) said at the Political Director’s Meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS in Morocco.
“We are grateful for that cooperation,” he added.
McGurk also praised the work the two countries have done to deescalate tensions, particularly around Manbij.
The Turkish General Staff said in a statement on June 24 that the two countries’ forces conducted patrols separately in the area between Operation Euphrates Shield region in northern Syria and Manbij according to the roadmap.
The first patrols by Turkish and U.S. troops in the region began June 18 and four patrolling missions have been completed as of June 27.
The roadmap, which has a set timeframe, foresees the withdrawal of the YPG from the city and the establishment of a new local council to be composed of mainly Arab locals.