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Turkish troops enter Manbij and Kurds withdraw after months-long diplomatic scuffle Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Turkish troops enter Manbij and Kurds withdraw after months-long diplomatic scuffle

Turkish forces patrol the outskirts of Syria's Manbij [Getty]

Date of publication: 18 June, 2018

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Turkey's military has begun patrolling the Manbij area as Kurdish militias withdraw, in line with the "roadmap" agreement reached with the US aimed at scaling down tensions in the region
Turkish soldiers entered the outskirts of Manbij on Monday where they have reportedly begun coordinated patrols with US forces, in line with the "roadmap" agreement reached with the US aimed at scaling down tensions in the region.

Turkey's President Erdogan announced later in the day that the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia and PYD party had withdrawn from the northern Syrian town.

The Turkish army said in a statement that "patrol activities had begun" between Manbij and an area it controls after a 2016-2017 military incursion.

Read more: Turkey is in Syria and Iraq to stay

The state-run Anadolu news agency said that Turkish armoured vehicles were patrolling "on the Manbij frontline".

Manbij, formerly held by Islamic State (IS) extremists, is controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an umbrella group dominated by a Kurdish militia Turkey considers to be a terror group but is supported by the US.

The issue of Manbij had become a major flashpoint between the two NATO allies. But Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo agreed a roadmap on the future of the city to ease tensions earlier this month.

The move comes as Turkey prepares for tight presidential and parliamentary elections on Sunday, with many analysts noting that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants a major foreign policy success to give him a final boost.

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