US army chief says security in Syria’s Manbij ‘secured’

By Kasim İleri

WASHINGTON

U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman said immediate security measures were addressed in Syria’s Manbij on Tuesday.

Gen. Joseph Dunford’s remarks came during a news conference with Pentagon reporters alongside Brett McGurk, Washington’s special envoy for combatting Daesh.

When asked the latest developments on the Turkey-U.S. joint patrol in Syria’s Manbij, Dunford said Turkey and U.S. firstly started conducting “independent patrols with coordination right away.”

“So the real issue that President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan and President [Donald] Trump gave us for a task was to ensure that we provide the security in that area and provide a security in a way that gave confidence to Turkey that the challenge from Manbij being addressed.

“And we did that immediately. And when it came to combined patrolling, we needed to just develop a staff plan that included how the patrol would be conducted, what the rules of engagement would be. And then we needed individuals to go be trained to conduct these controls,” Dunford said.

Dunford also mentioned that the security control in Manbij “is moving in a reasonable pace.”

“It was not a sense of urgency about it. The immediate security issues were addressed right away. There was no calendar to say that we must begin to conduct controls by a certain date.”

Dunford also recalled that he met with his Turkish counterpart Gen. Yasar Guler twice in the past three weeks.

“Yesterday was the second time. He has expressed on both occasions his satisfaction on the progress. We believe we have now met the direction from President Erdogan and President Trump on the security perspective we are on Manbij,” he said.

He added: “We’ll be ready soon transition into the vetting of individuals in the political peace of Manbij.”

“We were given a task and we are accomplishing that task. We are reasonably satisfied of all else that we are doing right now, that we met the mark,” Dunford said.

Turkish Chief of General Staff Guler met Monday in Washington, D.C. with Dunford and discussed regional security and the two countries’ fight against terrorism.

Guler was in the U.S. to attend the Counter-Violent Extremist Organization Conference, the Turkish General Staff said on its Twitter account.

The two army chiefs discussed security and stability in the Syrian city of Manbij as well as bilateral cooperation against Daesh, according to a statement released by the U.S. Department of Defense following the meeting.

“The U.S. and Turkey enjoy a strong and continuous strategic military-to-military relationship as key members of the NATO alliance,” the statement said.

The Manbij deal between Turkey and the U.S. focuses on the withdrawal of terrorist YPG/PKK forces from the city in Aleppo province, northern Syria to stabilize the region.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK has taken 40,000 lives, including many women and children. The YPG is its Syrian branch.


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