Turkey conducts second patrolling mission around Syria’s Manbij
Turkish armored military vehicles patrolled around the Sacu River, which separates Manbij, controlled by the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), and Jerablus, controlled by the Free Syrian Army since Turkey-led “Operation Euphrates Shield,” Anadolu Agency reported on June 20.
U.S. forces patrolled around Dadat town simultaneously, the report said.
The Turkish army conducted its first patrolling mission around Manbij on June 18 for the implementation of a road map for the withdrawal of the YPG, deemed as a terrorist group by Turkey, from Manbij.
The U.S. considers the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), dominated by YPG militants, an ally in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria.
“We said the terror organizations would be removed from there. They have started to be removed … The patrolling has started,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said at a rally in Samsun on June 18.
Turkey has long pushed for the YPG’s removal from Manbij, where a sizeable U.S. force has also been deployed since early 2016.
Military-to-military talks followed a deal between Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on June 4 over the Manbij road map.
The road map, which has a set timeframe, suggests the withdrawal of the YPG from the city and the establishment of a new local council to be composed of mainly Arab locals.
The road map, the timeline of which has never been formally announced but which was leaked by diplomatic sources to the media, foresees a three-stage process.
The first stage for the first 10 days is about the completion of initial preparations between the military and intelligence officials from the two sides, the second stage from the 11th to the 30th day needs to finalize initial preparations, and the final stage requires the full implementation of the road map within 60 days.