Backed Syrian fighters halt anti-IS offensive after Turkey attacks Kurdish forces

US-backed Syrian fighters halt anti-IS offensive after Turkey attacks Kurdish forces

The SDF accused Turkey of supporting the ISIS militants in their advances, saying it was responsible for "temporarily stopping the battle to fight terrorism carried out by our forces against the last holdout of the terrorist group".

U.S. Central Command said in a news release that a ground force commander agreed on by both countries will lead the joint patrols.

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).

Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist group because of its links to the Kurdish insurgency in southeastern Turkey.

"We have finished all our preparations [and] plans ... regarding the issue", Erdogan added.

"The patrols can allow the USA to keep Turkey in line especially in the areas of recent Turkish bombardments against the SDF", Abdulkader told Kurdistan 24. The campaign against ISIS "is not over and that fight remains hard", he said.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces "temporarily" suspended offensive actions against ISIS in response to cross-border attacks by Turkey, Col. Sean Ryan, a spokesman for the USA -led coalition fighting the jihadi group, said on Twitter on Thursday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, also said the patrols will begin Thursday adding that they follow days of Turkish shelling of positions of the main Kurdish militia.

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The SDF said Wednesday that it fired back in self-defense, and "as a result, a Turkish military vehicle was destroyed".

On the same day, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) whose backbone is the YPG, announced they were halting their offensive against ISIS in Deir ez-Zor's Hajin pocket following the Turkish aggression in Kobane. In an effort to alleviate the situation, the US agreed to jointly control Manbij with Turkish forces, and Kurdish forces agreed to withdraw.

Two US military officials confirmed that the Turkish military had shelled SDF positions in northern Syria in recent days.

"Coalition and Turkish military forces started combined patrols northwest of Manbij today", Army Colonel Sean Ryan, Spokesperson for Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), said in a public statement. The sides have conducted 68 independent patrols before the combined patrols started.

"The terror group is digging trenches in Manbij as they have done in Afrin, despite promises made by the United States about PKK/PYD/YPG's withdrawal from Manbij", Akar told lawmakers in a planning and budget committee meeting. He was referring to a Kurdish enclave taken earlier this year by Turkish troops and Turkey-backed Syrian opposition fighters.

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.

"The terror organization should know that they will be buried in the trenches when the time and place comes", Akar said.

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