Erdoğan, Trump discuss Syria's Manbij, Idlib in phone call
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump discussed a number of issues including the situation in Manbij and Idlib in northern Syria during a phone call on Nov. 1, the Turkish presidency said in a statement.
The statement was released on the day that Turkish and American troops began conducting joint patrols in Manbij, which is controlled by US-backed YPG that Ankara considers to be a terrorist group.
Hours before the phone call, the U.S. had said it was concerned over Turkish shelling of PKK/YPG positions in Syria.
“Unilateral military strikes into northwest Syria by any party, particularly as American personnel may be present or in the vicinity, are of great concern to us,” State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino told reporters on Oct. 31.
Ten YPG members were killed after Turkish forces fired howitzer shells across the border into Syria’s Ayn al-Arab region near Manbij on Oct. 31.
Turkey considers the YPG as an offshoot of the illegal PKK and has already intervened to sweep them from territory west of the Euphrates in military campaigns over the past two years.
Meanwhile, Turkey and Russia proceed with their efforts as part of a deal to demilitarize Syria's nortwestern Idlib province.
The Turkish presidency's Nov. 1 statement did not reveal the "bilateral subjects" other than the two outstanding issues on Syria.
According to the statement, the two leaders "stressed their determination to take constructive steps to reinforce bilateral relations" while agreeing on keeping close contact.
During the phone call, Erdoğan also condemned the Oct. 27 attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh that killed 11 people.