Top US general in summit over crowded Syrian battlefield

Posted March 10, 2017

The U.S. -backed Kurdish militia forces challenged Turkey's threat to remove them from the city by declaring they will continue to hold the Syrian town.

The Pentagon said on Monday that United States forces have also taken up positions on the outskirts of Manbij to try to keep a lid on tensions.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member Turkey sent its forces into northern Syria in August in an operation codenamed "Euphrates Shield" fighting Islamic State fighters and occasionally clashing with the YPG.

A member of the US-led coalition fighting against IS, Turkey is also cooperating with Russian Federation in Syria.

A spokeswoman for Mercy Corps, Christine Bragale, said she could not speculate on the reason for the Turkish government's decision, but stressed: "We have every confidence in the impartiality and integrity of our operation".

The PYD/PKK is trying to combine its self-declared Afrin canton in the northwest corner of Syria to the Kobani and Jazeera cantons in the northeast, but Turkey and Syrian opposition groups fighting for the unity of Syria have been trying to prevent the PKK affiliates' separatist motivations.

The fight against Isis has made the groups uncomfortable allies but the so-called Islamic State's impending defeat in northern Syria is letting former divisions escalate into open conflict along new frontlines.

"There is a need for an effective coordination in the efforts to clear Syria of all terror groups because so many countries are involved there", he told reporters.

The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that the military chiefs talked about "the current situation in the fight against terrorist organizations in Syria in the context of raising the efficiency of confronting all terrorist organizations in the future". The army has also clashed with Kurdish forces that the government in Ankara regards as terrorists with links to separatists in Turkey, who took control of Manbij after expelling Islamic State just before the Turkish incursion.

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Speaking in Ankara, Yildirim said Syria needed to be rid of "all terrorist groups" including Al-Nusra, Syrian Kurdish militia as well as IS jihadists.

"Our plan is very clear, but the negotiation process is going on", Ibrahim Kalin said, referring to a trilateral meeting between U.S., Russian Federation and Turkey military chiefs this week.

President Tayyip Erdogan last week said the next target of Turkey's Syrian operation was Manbij, which is controlled by the USA -backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The rising tensions between the Kurds and the Turks comes as the United States considers how best to retake Raqqa from ISIS, including to what extent the Kurds and Turkey should participate.

Many believe a federal Syria is on the cards.

"The U.S.is working for the formation of a federal Syria", maintained Solmazturk.

Oh, and there are Russian, U.S., Syrian and Turkish jets flying around throughout all of this.

Recent remarks by Premier Yildirim vaguely imply that the US bases can become permanent, increasing the possibility of the emergence of a federal Kurdish state along Turkey's border.

"Our operations in Syria will continue, and our priority right now is to limit any adverse effects our departure from Turkey may have on the innocent men, women and children who depend on our assistance", the agency said in a statement.

"It's quite likely that a Kurdish autonomous region in Syria will emerge, because neither the US nor Russian Federation is categorically opposed to such an entity", Uzgel argued.