Trump, Erdogan discuss Syria in phone call

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Operation Euphrates Shield, which began in August 2016 and ended in March 2017, aimed to eliminate the terrorist threat along the border in the northern Syrian regions of Jarabulus, Al-Rai, Al-Bab, and Azaz with the use of the Free Syrian Army, backed by Turkish artillery and air cover. "We have completed preparations and plans regarding this issue", Erdogan said in a speech to lawmakers from his ruling AK Party on Tuesday.

United States forces and Manbij officials have repeatedly said that Turkish forces will not enter Manbij city itself, but will be confined to designated neutral areas, even within the joint patrols.

At least four PYD/PKK terrorists were killed on Wednesday in east of Euphrates River, northern Syria, according to security sources.

The US-led coalition against the Islamic State group said Thursday it was working to "de-escalate" fighting between Turkey and a Kurdish-led alliance battling the jihadists in Syria.

The halting of the operation is a major setback for the USA and its allies and comes after Turkey threatened a new military operation targeting the Kurdish-led SDF.

Manbij was captured from ISIS by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an umbrella group dominated by the YPG.

Although Ankara considers the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) an extension of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Turkey's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally the United States continues to support the Kurdish fighters in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS). The Turkish defense ministry later said the Kurdish militia fired on Turkish targets and that Turkish troops retaliated, killing 10 fighters. At the time, the SDF said it sent its fighters to defend the enclave, and accused Turkey of jeopardizing the anti-ISIS campaign.

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"The joint patrols of Turkish and United States troops - on which we have made plans and completed training and which we said would start - began at 3:53 pm local time", Turkey's Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said at parliament on Thursday, Anadolu Agency reported.

According to Agar, with this offensive Ankara is telling Washington that "either we take action together against the YPG or we will do so unilaterally".

The Americans and the Turks have been conducting independent patrols along the border, and joint patrols are seen as a way of preventing violence.

Quick Reaction Force (QRF) members conduct an after-action review following small unit tactics training in Manbij, Syria, Oct. 1, 2018.

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

Sharfan Darwish, spokesman of the Manbij Military Council, told The Associated Press earlier that the patrols were taking place on the front lines between his group and those of Turkey-backed factions in the operation called Euphrates Shield.

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