(reu dpa) Turkey agrees to take security control in the city of Manbij, in the north of the Syrian border. The proposal was made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the phone with his US counterpart Donald Trump, as announced by the Turkish presidential office.
Last week, four US citizens were killed in a suicide attack in the Kurdish stronghold of Manbijk, which was claimed by the extremist Islamic State (IS) militia. Speaking with Trump, Erdogan said the murder attempt, according to his office, was a provocation that would have influenced Trump's decision to withdraw American troops from Syria.
Erdogan's offer was not mentioned in the US presidential office statement on the phone call. He simply stated that the two heads of state agreed to implement an agreement to safeguard bilateral security interests in north-eastern Syria. Trump stressed in the conversation how important it was to defeat the remaining "terrorist elements" in Syria, according to the White House. Trump and Erdogan had agreed to look for a negotiated solution for the region, taking into account the safety concerns of both parties.
The Kurds fear the withdrawal of the United States
Manbijk is under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who led the Kurdish YPG militia at the summit and, with the help of the United States, expelled IS 2016 from the city. This borders on an area controlled by militias supported by Turkey. Turkey views the YPG as a terrorist organization and has threatened to break it.
The Kurds fear a Turkish offensive as soon as the US military, as announced by Trump, withdrew surprisingly from Syria in December. Trump threatened Turkey's partner with economic destruction if he attacked Kurdish militias in northern Syria.
A few days before Christmas, Trump declared the ISIS defeated and therefore justified the withdrawal of American troops from Syria, which he announced. After the death of the four US citizens – two soldiers and two civilian members of the Department of Defense – he defended the withdrawal plans. On Saturday, Trump said that since taking office two years ago, 99% of the IS territory has been regained.
On Monday a week ago Trump and Erdogan had called. It has been said, among other things, to establish a "security zone" along the Turkish-Syrian border. It is questionable whether the Kurdish YPG militia would agree and withdraw from this area, probably largely demilitarized.