Joint US-Turkish patrols begin in Syria’s Manbij - Ankara

A Turkish armored personnel carrier is struck by a missile on Wednesday

A Turkish armored personnel carrier is struck by a missile on Wednesday

Earlier that month, the two countries approved a stabilization road map on Manbij which stipulated the exit of Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) from the city and that control be handed over to Turkish and U.S. troops.

US President Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed the Syrian conflict during a phone call on Thursday, the Turkish presidency said in a statement.

Turkish and Coalition military forces have conducted more than 60 independent, coordinated patrols outside of Manbij since June 2018, Ghika said.

According to Diliman Abdulkader, the Director of the Kurdistan Project at the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), the joint US-Turkish patrols along Manbij can benefit the SDF.

Ankara, however, views the YPG as the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Turkey, the USA and European Union all consider to be a terrorist organization.

US-backed Kurdish fighters in northern Syria say Turkish military vehicles are massing near the border ahead of an expected assault that could derail their fight against ISIS in the east of the country and further strain relations between Ankara and Washington, its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally.

The SDF responded on Wednesday with retaliatory artillery and machine gun fire, an SDF spokesperson told Syria Direct, resulting in the destruction of one Turkish military vehicle as well as a border post near Abu Salim, a village west of Kobane.

In the multi-sided conflict, IS fighters have been driven from almost all of the self-proclaimed "caliphate" they controlled in Syria and Iraq by a range of foes including the US-led coalition, the Iraqi government, the Russian-backed Syrian government and Iran-backed paramilitaries.

The move has come just four days after the Syria summit in Istanbul, attended by the leaders of Turkey, Russia, Germany and France.

The city is controlled by the US-backed Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey considers a terrorist group.

A total of 260,000 Syrian nationals have returned to a swathe of land in northern Syria where Turkey carried out a cross-border operation dubbed "Euphrates Shield", Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on November 1.

CNN-Turk television quoted Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar as saying that training for the joint patrols between the Turks and the Americans have ended but it was not clear yet when the patrols will start. "We have completed preparations and plans regarding this issue", Erdogan said in a speech to lawmakers from his ruling AK Party on Tuesday.

ISIS has been driven to just a few towns in the area and the United States and its coalition allies conducted 184 air and artillery strikes last week targeting the terror group's last remaining territory, striking command and control centers, weapons caches and vehicles.

Beirut-based analyst Nour a-Din al-Omar, who recently conducted research in Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria, suggests that some Kurdish political and military officials fear that their forces could once again be left to fend for themselves.

Latest News