To mesh Syria fight, US, Turkey, Russia brass talk

A displaced Syrian family unload their belongings at a makeshift camp for displaced people near the town of Manbij, Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is at the center of this thanks to his military campaign, but he must keep allies like Syria and Iran on side even as tries to cooperate with the USA and Turkey. No comment could immediately be obtained from Turkish government officials.

It was unclear whether other aid organizations have been similarly affected, and Turkish government officials could not immediately be reached for comment. The YPG commander claimed Turkey's next target would be the town of Tell Abyad on the Turkish border, which was captured by the SDF with United States backing in June 2015.

Coalition airstrikes killed 23 civilians, including eight children, in the countryside north of Raqqa on Thursday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor said.

Mark Toner, acting State Department spokesman, said it was aware of the situation with Mercy Corps, which he called a "valuable partner" in delivering humanitarian assistance to needy Syrian refugees.

"We will not allow the YPG's canton dreams (to come true)".

Turkey has said its campaign in Syria is aimed at driving Islamic State (ISIS) from its border and preventing YPG expansion in the area. And also the "safe zone" in Syria that Turkey has been asking for from the global community could well be established by the Jordanian border, not the Turkish one.

The YPG says it withdrew from Manbij after helping to capture it a year ago, leaving it in the control of allied militia of the Syrian Democratic Forces - an alliance that includes the YPG and Arab fighters.

Some U.S. troops are stationed inside and in rural parts of western Manbij since last week to deter actors from attacking groups other than the Islamic State (IS), Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said on Monday. A Pentagon official said, yesterday, that the US troops are in Manbij to "reassure and deter".

The top generals from Turkey, the United States and Russian Federation met Tuesday to discuss developments in Syria and Iraq as Syrian government forces made fresh gains fighting the Islamic State group.

Turkey's military chief of staff, General Hulusi Akar, is hosting a meeting with the heads of the U.S. and Russian armed forces in the southern Turkish province of Antalya, according to Ankara and Moscow.

A US -backed alliance of Syrian militias has told USA officials that Turkey must have no role in the campaign to capture the city of Raqqa from Islamic State, its spokesman said on Thursday.

Russian troops have been seen in the area and the close proximity raises questions about what role the Syrian regime might play in the attack on Raqqa.

The White House, in consultation with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, is considering options for accelerating the fight against Islamic State militants in Syria.

For its part, Russian Federation supports that Manbij, snatched to the IS by the YPG fighters in August 2016, is handed over to the Damascus government.



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