American and Turkish defense officials met recently as part of an ongoing dialogue on the implementation of the Manbij road map, where they discussed the second phase of the road map, the Pentagon said on Monday. Pentagon spokesperson Adrian Rankine-Galloway said the meeting was held last week and also covered establishing security and stability near the northern Syrian city.
Rankine-Galloway told Anadolu Agency (AA) the talks were focused on the second phase of the road map which involves joint patrols in Manbij, northern Syria. The road map was announced after a June 4 meeting in Washington between Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The deal focuses on the withdrawal of the People's Protection Units (YPG), terror group, the PKK's Syrian affiliate, from Manbij and on stability in the region.
The Turkish General Staff said in a statement on Sunday that both countries' forces conducted patrols separately in the area between the Operation Euphrates Shield region in northern Syria and Manbij according to the road map. The first patrols by Turkish and U.S. troops in the region began June 18. In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK has taken some 40,000 lives, including those of women and children.
Turkey has said the presence of terror forces near its border constitute a threat and has launched military operations and other efforts to rid the region of terrorists. Manbij has been controlled by the YPG terrorist group which has been the main ally of the U.S in its fight against Daesh, since 2016. Turkey has long demanded that the U.S. avoid cooperation with the YPG, objecting to the YPG presence west of the Euphrates River, including the predominantly Arab town of Manbij.