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The US is strengthening the protection of coalition forces in Manbij, northern Syria



In the framework of the global coalition against the Islamic State, the US has this week reinforced its special forces in the focal point of Manbij in northern Syria

VOA, Col. Thomas F. Veale, a spokesman US Secretary of State and Head of the Coalition's Public Relations Department, said the recent deployment was a safeguard to ensure the security of coalition forces in the region.

"Coalition forces are setting up a joint coordination mechanism for operations there, through the coalition's official relationship with the Manbij Military Council," Veale said.

Manbij, in northern Syria, is recently another major point of disagreement between the US and its NATO ally, Turkey, over the presence of the Kurdish militant group People's Protection Units, also known as YPG

  FILE - Kurdish fighters of the People's Protection Units (YPG) are talking with members of the US Armed Forces in the city of Darbasiya near the Turkish border, Syria, April 29, 201<div class="e3lan e3lan-in-post1"><script async src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js"></script>
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FILE – Kurdish fighters of the People's Protection Units (YPG) are talking with members of the US Armed forces in the city of Darbasiya near the Turkish border. Syria, April 29, 2017.

Turkey says the YPG is a terrorist organization claiming that the group is linked to Kurdish separatists in Turkey, known as the PKK, which has been labeled a terrorist organization by the US and the EU , But the US denies the connections between the PKK and the YPG and considers the YPG as an important ally in the ongoing campaign against the terrorist group of the Islamic State in the region.

The National Security Council of Turkey, chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said in a statement on Wednesday that Ankara "would take action" if the YPG fighters did not immediately withdraw from the region.

"At the meeting it is said that the terrorists in Manbij should be removed from the area, otherwise Turkey will not hesitate to take initiative, as in other regions too," the statement said.

The Turkish military and its Allied rebels captured the Kurdish city of Afrin in northwestern Syria this month from the YPG in an operation code Operation Olive Branch, which began on January 20.

The US said it was "deeply worried" that the operation had expelled thousands of civilians and diverted attention from the more important ones. (19659006) FILE – A Turkish soldier blowing on a Bursayah Hill in greater Afrin, Syria On March 3, 2018, a media tour organized by the Turkish government in northern Syria [19659014] FILE – During a media tour organized by the Turkish government in northern Syria on March 3, 2018, a Turkish soldier waves on a Bursayah Hill in greater Afrin in Syria military vehicle.

US-Supported Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) officials say a Turkish-led attack on Manbij could encourage thousands of fighters, especially those recruited from the city to leave battlefields against Islamic remnants in eastern Syria and to move to the West to take action against the Turkish army and its Allied rebel military offensive.

Najim Muhammad, Deputy Commander of Manbij Military Council, said the US-led coalition assured them that they would protect the city

"We are working with the Manbij Global Coalition for Security". Mohammed told VOA. "Our coordination is very strong."

Muhammad said he was concerned that the rebels of the Free Syrian Army are being encouraged by Turkish support and are gathering in northwestern Manbij.

Yeni Safak

Turkish government loyalist [Tuesday] newspaper reported Tuesday that a troop of 12,000 militants from the Free Syrian Army "is waiting for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to begin the operation."

Col. US military officials refused to announce the number of US Special Forces troops recently deployed in the area, but said "the level of troop protection is adequate to the threat."

A VOA reporter in northern Syria who visited the site US troops are stationed mainly across the Sajur River Basin in northwest Manbij, bordering the Turkish-backed Syrian fighters.

US troops in Manbij were directly attacked in August 2017 by Turkish-backed rebels. The Pentagon then said the US troops returned the fire, but there was no loss on both sides.


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