United States to coordinate troop withdrawal from Syria with Turkey

Smoke rises past a mountain as seen from Damascus countryside

This is huge given that the complete US reversal in policy comes following a phone call last week between President Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, wherein Erdogan is reported to have pressed the Kurdish problem and presence of USA troops.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday that Ankara and Washington agreed to complete withdrawal of the YPG forces from Manbij before USA pulls out of Syria.

The PKK, which has waged an insurgency against Turkey since 1984, is blacklisted as a terrorist organization by Ankara and its Western allies.

Cavusoglu told Turkish media during a briefing that Ankara has "the power to neutralize [ISIS] alone" amid fears that a United States pull-out will hurt the fight against the militant group.

"The Russian army has restored the Syrian-Russian coordination centre to Arima village to the west of Manbij city, after its withdrawal from there a while ago", said Sharfan Darwish, the spokesman for the Manbij Military Council.

The deployment was co-ordinated with the US-backed Kurdish militia in Manbij, the spokesman for the Manbij Military Council said.

"Turkey does not now have a Syrian rebel force that is large enough, experienced enough, or legitimate enough to hold eastern Syria, and it would take many months, even with USA support, for Turkey to amass such a force", he added.

The shock move put allies on the backfoot, with Macron on Sunday saying: "An ally must be reliable". The coalition partner forces said they would continue to advance and dig out the positions of ISIS fighters, describing the war zone as the "last remaining stronghold ISIS has in the region".

A delegation of the Syrian Democratic Council, the political wing of SDF, arrived in Russian Federation last week for talks.

The development comes after Turkey said President Trump had accepted an invitation from Erdogan to visit the country early next year.

The Russians seem to have restrained both sides, and the Syrians feared an overwhelming Israeli response enough to prefer to launch SA-5 missiles against the Israeli air force attack, rather than the more accurate and longer-range S-300.

Syrian Turkmen Assembly, representatives of Turkmen minority in Syria, said on Wednesday they fully support Turkey's military operation against the PKK/YPG terrorists in northern Syria. France is a member of the global coalition against IS led by the USA against jihadists in Syria and Iraq.

During a speech Friday, Erdogan promised to hold off on a planned military operation aimed at destroying elements of the YPG in Syria, although he added the campaign would still get under way in the coming months.

Critics of Trump's move fear that thousands of IS members could make gains in Syria, despite the USA leader's claim that the group had been defeated.

Russia closely coordinates its actions in Syria with Turkey, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.

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