By Sarp Ozer and Enes Kaplan
Turkish and the U.S. soldiers will begin joint patrolling in Syria’s Manbij soon, Turkish defense minister said on Monday.
Speaking to reporters, Hulusi Akar said joint training of the Turkish and U.S. soldiers on the combined patrols in Manbij will be completed in a short time.
On Sunday, the Turkish Armed Forces shared on its Instagram account two pictures where Turkish and U.S. soldiers are seen together during training.
Last week, Akar announced the beginning of the joint training on combined patrolling activities, which will be held in the region, as part of the Manbij Roadmap and Security Principles.”
The Manbij deal between Turkey and the U.S. focuses on the withdrawal of YPG/PKK terrorists from the city to stabilize the region, which is in the northeast of the Aleppo province in northern Syria.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the death of some 40,000 people, including those of women and children. The YPG is its Syrian branch.
Akar said the Idlib process “continues as planned,” and that his country “stands by its commitments”.
Ankara and Moscow signed an agreement last month that calls for a demilitarization zone in Idlib, following a summit in Russia’s coastal Black Sea town of Sochi.
Opposition groups in Idlib will remain in areas in which they are already present, while Russia and Turkey will conduct joint patrols in the area with a view to preventing any renewal of fighting.
Turkish and Russian military forces, meanwhile, will conduct joint patrols along the zone’s perimeter.