m3n4.net March 21, 2019

Turkey’s Erdogan eyes Putin meeting to discuss US Syria withdrawal

28 December 2018, 12:23 | Tara Lloyd

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Manbij is controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), led by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), seen as a "terrorist" group by Turkey.

Without US backing, it would definitely prove more hard for other western powers such as Italy, France and Britain to stay the course in supporting insurgent forces in Syria.

The crushing response of the IDF is very important following President Trump's announcement of the U.S. withdrawal from Syria: the IDF explicitly stated that with and without an American presence, it would not hesitate to attack Iranian targets in Syria, and with significant force. Are we going to depend on the United States again?

The Christian unit within the multi-ethnic, multi-sectarian Syrian Democratic Forces put out an "urgent call" to the coalition fighting ISIS that Christians in Syria are "at risk of extinction" at the hands of Turks after USA withdrawal.

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The SNA said up to 15,000 of its fighters were prepared to enter the areas once the United States pulled out. "We are ready to repulse any attack", he said.

Turkey's strained ties with Washington have improved immeasurably in the past week. "There is a lot of propaganda and provocations of future attacks on Manbij, but nothing is going on right now". US and Turkish forces had been conducting joint patrols around Manbij, and the USA set up a series of observation posts in the areas last month to help ease tensions.

"The battle will begin soon", said the spokesman of the National army, Jussef Hamud.

The SOHR said that Turkey has instructed its rebel allies to temporarily hold-off on launching a planned attack.

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Erdogan and his Russian counterpart said in the Turkish capital Ankara on April 3 that they had agreed to expedite the delivery of S-400 missile systems.

The war monitor says at least 44 ISIS militants have been killed in the area over the past 48 hours, including 19 militants who were killed by coalition airstrikes and 25 others who were killed in ground battles with the SDF. In the meantime, the American decision is likely to push the PYD/YPG into a closer relationship with the Syrian government.

"We are transitioning primary responsibility for the defeat of the few remaining ISIS remnants in Syria to our allies and partners on the ground inside Syria", a USA administration official told VOA Friday, using an acronym for the Islamic State group. The SDF, with US support, has been fighting against ISIS for three years already.

The PYD reportedly controls about a third of Syria while the Assad regime holds over half of the country. The withdrawal took place under purported pressure from Washington.

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"Erdogan is a victim of his own success in selling Trump on the idea that Turkey is ready to assume control over the counter-ISIS mission in Syria indefinitely", Nicholas Heras, an analyst at the Center for a New American Security, said.

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