Turkey, US to discuss stabilization of Manbij

MNA – Turkey and the US have established working groups to discuss the stabilization of Manbij and other Syrian cities east of the Euphrates, Turkey’s foreign minister said Friday.

“We have reached a common understanding with the Americans on the issue of the stabilization of Manbij and other cities east of the Euphrates. We have established working groups for that,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview with the German weekly Die Zeit.

Cavusoglu said he would meet with his US counterpart Rex Tillerson on March 19 to discuss further details.

US military support for the  PYD/PKK group in northern Syria has strained ties between Ankara and Washington and has led to fears of potential clashes on the ground between troops of the two NATO allies.

Turkish troops launched a military operation on Jan. 20 in  Afrin in northwestern Syria amid growing threats posed from the region to Turkey.

Ankara said it might also extend its operation further east to Manbij unless the PYD/PKK terrorist group leaves the strategically located city.

The Turkish government has also demanded from the US to take back weapons it supplied to the PYD/PKK group which Washington claims were given to them for fighting against ISIL in the region.

Turkish leaders have long warned their US counterparts that one cannot rely on a terrorist organization in the fight against another terrorist group.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU.