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Turkey military says chief meeting US, Russian counterparts on Syria
09 March 2017, 12:38 | Clarence Schmidt
Managing Manbij: top military brass meet in Turkey
That will enable a Kurdish-led operation to capture Raqqa and the Syrian government to deploy its forces too in the area, he said.
It was unclear whether other aid organizations have been similarly affected, and Turkish government officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
At the same time, the Turkish military, allied with the Free Syrian Army militias, have been threatening to attack Manbij, where they suspect that elements of the Syrian Kurdish YPG, or People's Protection Units, still hold sway. Right next to them are pro-government Syrian regime forces.
It added that it remained hopeful that Turkey would allow it to "return to serve those in critical need". The U.S. -led coalition "has taken this deliberate action to reassure coalition members and partner forces, deter aggression and keep the focus on defeating ISIS", spokesman Col. John Dorrian said on Twitter. His comment came after Ankara-backed rebels seized al-Bab.
In fact, according to one general, the Russian jets recently targeted villages held by USA -backed Syrian Arab Coalition fighters shortly after ISIS were forced out of them.
Turkey has said it wants to create a safe zone inside Syria along the border, 60 miles long and about 28 miles deep.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week that the operation's next target would be Manbij - a former IS bastion that is now under SDF control. Turkey has objected, and its force is headed toward Manbij.
The SDF, seen by the Washington as the most effective anti-jihadist fighting force in Syria, is dominated by Kurdish fighters condemned by Ankara as "terrorists".
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The top generals of the Turkish, Russian and U.S. military met Tuesday in a bid to step up coordination in Syria and avoid clashes between rival forces in the fight against Islamic State (IS) group jihadists.
It marked the second meeting in a month between Dunford and Gerasimov, as senior USA military officials have called for increased talks to "deconflict" operations in Syria and make sure there are no collisions between US and Russian aircraft.
Under the existing framework established in 2015, a U.S. colonel in Qatar and a Russian counterpart in Syria discuss the locations of operations their countries are carrying out in Syria without sharing any intelligence.
"It makes no sense to launch an operation in Manbij without the cooperation of Russian Federation and the United States", Yildirim said Monday.
Turkey views the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is waging an insurgency in Turkey.
Turkey " s chief of staff Hulusi Akar met with his Russian counterparts Valery Gerasimov and US President Joseph Dunford in the southern city of Antalya on Wednesday to discuss regional issues.
The Antalya talks are aimed at ensuring better coordination to avoid "the risk of unwanted clashes" as many countries are involved in Syria, the Turkish premier said.
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