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Turkey masses troops near the Kurdish Syrian city



Turkey is gathering troops near a North Syrian town held by a US-backed and Kurdish-led troop, a war monitor said when the Turkish media reported new reinforcements across the border on Sunday.

The Turkish march arrives despite Turkey He said it will delay a promised offensive in eastern Syria after President Donald Trump decided to oust the US troops earlier this week.

Trump tweeted on Sunday that he had a "long and productive" reputation with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan They discussed the "slow and highly coordinated" withdrawal of US troops from the region. This is the second phone conversation between the two leaders within 1

0 days. US military officials are trying to set a timeline for the withdrawal of an estimated 2,000 troops.

A statement by the Turkish presidency said the two leaders had agreed to coordinate militarily and diplomatically to ensure that the US withdrawal from Syria did not result in a "government vacuum".

Trump's decision, announced last week after a call with Erdogan, surprised his allies and his own experts and sparked the resignation of two of his top aides. He had requested an immediate withdrawal, but experts were convinced that they needed time to work out a timetable.

The Turkish news agency IHA reported that a convoy of Turkish troops – a commando unit – had been sent overnight to Syria. 19659002] The Syrian Human Rights Observatory said the reinforcements had been sent to the front with Manbij, where US troops were stationed. The observatory said that 50 vehicles had been transported in Syria – with troops and equipment.

A Turkish military officer speaking on condition of anonymity under the terms of the government's protocol said the military reinforcements had been upgraded to Turkish-administered areas in northern Syria without elaboration.

Kurdish-led Manbij Military Council spokesman Sharfan Darwish said Turkish reinforcements had arrived in the area. "We take the necessary measures to defend ourselves when we are attacked," he said without elaborating.

US. The troops stationed around Manbij patrolled the city and surrounding area on Sunday and were photographed in conversation with the inhabitants.

Turkey has welcomed Trump's decision. Ankara sees the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces as an extension of the insurgency within its borders. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has promised to expel the Kurdish fighters along its border with Syria.

Since 2014, the US has been working with the Syrian Kurdish militia to expel the Islamic State Group, a partnership that has affected relations between Ankara and Washington

Mitigating Turkey's fears was a deal signed in Manbij in June , According to the agreement, the Kurdish militia would withdraw from Manbij and US and Turkish troops would patrol the area, while a new administration would be chosen for the mixed Arab-Kurdish city.

But Ankara says the US and the Kurds did not live until the end of the agreement and that there would be an offensive in eastern Syria to drive out the militia. Turkey already has troops in northwestern Syria and has supported Syrian fighters there to evacuate cities and villages from IS fighters and Kurdish fighters.

Following Trump's decision, Erdogan said he would delay the East Syria offensive and work on plans to clear the IS from the region.

A spokesman for the Turkey-backed Syrian opposition combat group said the continued buildup of Turkish and Allied forces was preventing Syrian government forces from harnessing the tensions in the region to conquer the territory.

Youssef Hammoud, spokesman for the Syrian opposition fighter, accused the Kurdish militia of reaching the Syrian government to replace US troops when they withdraw.

Darwish dismissed the allegations as "untrue" and called them "old accusations" of the rival Syrian groups

On Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron said he "regretted" Trump's decision to withdraw US troops from Syria and warned that this could have dangerous consequences.

Macron extolled US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, who quit after Trump's unexpected move. "An ally should be reliable and coordinate with other allies, and Mattis has understood that," Macron said on a trip to Chad.

Macron said the withdrawal of troops endangered Kurdish militants who were instrumental in fighting the US-led coalition against IS militants.

"We should not forget … what we owe those who died on the ground and fought terrorism," he said, referring to the SDF. "The SDF is fighting against terrorism, which has provoked attacks against Paris and elsewhere … I urge everyone not to forget what they did."

Macron did not say what the French military in Syria will do next. Kurdish officials met with a French presidential adviser on Friday, and one called on France to play a bigger role in Syria following the Americans' withdrawal.

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Bilginsko reported from Istanbul. Angela Charlton, Associated Press, wrote in Paris on this report.


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