US denies reaching agreement with Turkey on Manbij


    The U.S. doesn’t have any agreements yet with Turkey on Manbij, northern Syria, the State Department said Tuesday.

    “We don't have any agreements yet with the government of Turkey. We announced previously that the United States and the Turkish working group met…in Ankara on Friday of last week,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said during a daily press briefing.

    “We're continuing to have ongoing conversations regarding Syria and other issues of mutual concern. The two sides then had outlined the contours of a road map for further cooperation, and that includes on Manbij.”

    Following a visit by former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Ankara in February, Turkey and the U.S. established a mechanism to address separate issues in working groups, including the stabilization of Manbij and to prevent any undesirable clashes.

    Nauert also said that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu are set to meet in Washington on June 4.

    The first meeting of the working group on Syria was held on March 8-9 in Washington.

    U.S. military support for the YPG/PKK terrorist group in Manbij has strained ties between Ankara and Washington and has led to fears of military clashes between the two NATO allies, since there are roughly 2,000 U.S. troops in the city.

    In January, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch in Afrin, northern Syria to clear terrorist groups from the area. After liberating the city of Afrin, Ankara said it might also extend its operation further east to Manbij unless the YPG/PKK terrorist group leaves the strategically located city.


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