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Turkey, U.S. expected to agree on roadmap for Syria’s Manbij

Turkey, U.S. expected to agree on roadmap for Syria’s Manbij

ANKARA (Xinhua) — Turkey and the United States are expected to agree on a roadmap for Syria’s Manbij when they meet in Washington next week.

Militants of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) will leave Manbij within 30 days should the final deal be reached, state-run Anadolu Agency cited sources familiar to the bilateral meeting as saying.

“On June 4, we may announce a roadmap with a solid timeline. We will make a joint statement that includes concrete steps,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters on his return from Germany late Tuesday.

Last week, Turkey and the U.S. outlined a roadmap for cooperation on Manbij following negotiations during a visit of a U.S. delegation to Ankara.

The Manbij action plan will include three phases of security cooperation between the two countries, according to Anadolu.

The first phase concerns the withdrawal of YPG militants from northern Syria, while the second is expected to last 45 days, during which the U.S. and Turkish military and intelligence authorities will launch joint inspection for Manbij.

In the third phase, a local administration, including a military council and a municipal council, will be set up in Manbij within 60 days.

“The step we’ll take in Manbij will bring about a reduction in the bilateral tension. It will also create the basis of future steps between the two countries as it will help us establish mutual confidence,” Cavusoglu said.

The successful implementation of a Manbij plan will lead to similar cooperation between Turkey and the U.S. in different Syrian provinces, such as Raqqa and Kobane, he added.

Ankara has repeatedly demanded that Washington drive YPG militants out from the strategic city of Manbij, where about 2,000 U.S. soldiers are currently deployed.

Turkey-U.S. relations have been strained over Washington’s support to the YPG, prompting fears of a military showdown in the city between the two NATO allies.

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