Turkey will reportedly set up monitoring posts similar to the ones in Idlib along strategic points in Manbij to oversee the People's Protection Units' (YPG) withdrawal on the ground.
According to the latest reports, the decision to set up monitoring posts in Manbij was made in accordance with the recent agreement signed between Turkey and the U.S. in Washington on June 4.
Included in the new plan designed to ensure security in Manbij, the two countries will also exchange lists of local forces to be trained and armed to maintain the safety of the city. The local forces will be determined and approved by both countries' security authorities, reports say.
Furthermore, the YPG withdrawal will be completed by July 4 according to the U.S.-Turkey road map for Manbij. Following the YPG's withdrawal east of the Euphrates, Turkish forces will be deployed to pacify the region and train local forces to establish security.
Turkey convinced the U.S. to accept an accelerated timetable for the withdrawal of the PKK-affiliated YPG from the Syrian town of Manbij and the pacification of the region, which will be completed within three months rather than the six months the U.S. preferred.
The discussions took place Monday in Washington between Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The two NATO allies were able to agree on a road map to resolve their differences. The U.S. support for the YPG against Daesh has angered Turkey, which sees the PKK as its biggest national security threat. The process will involve a 10-day preparation period that started Tuesday before YPG militants start withdrawing.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis met with Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli yesterday at the NATO defense ministerial to discuss defense-related issues of mutual concern and reaffirmed the longstanding defense relationship between the U.S. and Turkey.
Addressing Turkey's security concerns, Mattis praised the bilateral efforts in Syria to develop a sustainable long-term arrangement in Manbij while emphasizing further cooperation to promote local governance acceptable to all parties.
Turkey has established 12 observation points in Idlib
In accordance with the Astana agreement signed on Oct. 12, 2017, the Turkish military has started to cross into the region to establish 12 observation points to monitor the cease-fire in the Idlib de-escalation zone.
Idlib, located in northwestern Syria on the Turkish border, faced intense attacks from the Bashar Assad regime after a vicious civil war broke out in 2011. Since March 2015, Idlib has been dominated by military opposition groups and anti-regime armed forces.