Joint US-Turkish patrols finally begin in tense northern Syria area

A Turkish armored personnel carrier is struck by a missile on Wednesday

A Turkish armored personnel carrier is struck by a missile on Wednesday

As part of that agreement, the USA was to convince Kurdish elements of the SDF to withdraw from Manbij and United States and Turkish troops were to conduct joint patrols in the town's vicinity.

"Coordination and consultation between the United States and Turkey on issues of security concern is a better approach", he said.

The escalation comes a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his party lawmakers that the military was preparing to launch an operation against Kurdish forces east of the Euphrates River.

The SDF now controls more than a quarter of Syrian territory after its Kurdish dominated forces beat back IS jihadists with USA support over the past three years.

Palladino said the fully committed to Turkey's border security but at the same time expressed Washington's commitment to the Kurdish-dominated Syrian forces.

There are USA forces in the Sunni Arab-majority Manbij - which lies just 30 kilometres south of the Turkish border - and Washington has been closely working with the YPG in the fight against IS.

"The joint patrol in Manbij between Turkish armed forces and the U.S. began today at 3.53pm (1253 GMT)", he told lawmakers.

The YPG forms the main part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that Washington backs with arms, air support and around 2,000 special forces troops on the ground in the fight against the Islamic State group (IS).

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Washington s support of the Kurdish People s Protection Units (YPG) militia in the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria has strained already tense relations between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies Turkey and the US.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, also said the patrols would follow days of Turkish shelling of positions of the main Kurdish militia.

Following an exchange of cross-border fire, Turkish police seized a vehicle carrying more than 545 pounds of explosives in the southeastern province of Mardin, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

The SDF on Wednesday said it would temporarily halt its campaign against ISIS in protest over continued Turkish aggression in the Kobani region. Joint patrols are considered a way to tamp down potential violence between the various groups in the region.

Ankara considers the militia a terror threat and an extension of Kurdish rebels waging an insurgency within Turkey.

For now, Russian Federation seems to support Turkey's military moves on the eastern bank of the Euphrates.

To ease ties, the countries agreed to a road map in June that included the YPG withdrawing from Manbij and establishing the joint patrols in the city.

Quick Reaction Force (QRF) members conduct an after-action review following small unit tactics training in Manbij, Syria, Oct. 1, 2018. He was referring to a Kurdish enclave taken earlier this year by Turkish troops and Turkey-backed Syrian opposition fighters.

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