Turkey and the US agreed to complete the Manbij roadmap before the USA finishes the withdrawal of its troops from Syria, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said earlier Tuesday.
According to a translation of the Turkish president's words on Thursday during a previously planned summit with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Ankara, journalist Abdullah Bozkurt reports, "Turkish president Erdogan says Turkey won't support USA sanctions on Iran which he claims puts regional security and stability at risk, vows to take all measures to minimize impact of sanctions on trade between the two countries, pledges support to Iran in hard times".
Following the U.S. decision of troops withdrawal, Turkey announced it would be postponing its military operation planned against terrorists in the east of Euphrates in Syria.
On Monday, Turkish-backed Syrian rebels reinforced the area around the town of Manbij, which is occupied by the Kurdish fighters, in preparation for the USA withdrawal.
Manbij is controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), led by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), seen as a "terrorist" group by Turkey.
If that plays out, though, it could set up a conflict with Turkey, which despite US support for the YPG in Syria, considers the YPG a terrorist group with strong ties to the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK.
The development comes a day after Turkish-backed Syrian fighters dispatched fighters and armoured vehicles to the front line along Manbij and days after Washington took an unexpected decision to withdraw troops from Syria.
Over the past few days, the Turkish military has been sending reinforcements to frontline areas with YPG militants in northern Syria. Under the June deal, Kurdish forces would leave Manbij, in the western Euphrates valley, but delays have infuriated Turkey.
President Donald Trump's surprise decision to withdraw the estimated 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria on Wednesday has created shock among members of the Congress, including Republicans, as well as among Washington's Western allies.
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It is still to be seen how angry the U.S.'s European allies and other stakeholders are going to be with this decision. His decision was made public a mere few hours after he abruptly announced the US was withdrawing troops from Syria .
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan "has very strongly informed me that he will eradicate whatever is left of ISIS in Syria... and he is a man who can do it plus, Turkey is right "next door".
Trump's shock order came after Erdogan convinced him that Turkey could eliminate the last remaining pockets of IS after the jihadists suffered a series of military defeats.
"It is crucial that the United States doesn't appear as not having kept its promises", Cavusoglu said.
"We will continue our operations with the global coalition, continue training, and maintain security and stability as long as this partnership continues", he said.
The Turkish president last visited the White House in May 2017 and held a 50-minute-long meeting with his American counterpart on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina in early December.
The Turkish president also announced that a delegation was heading to Moscow and that he would meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The United States needs Turkey as a key regional economy if it hopes to effectively strangle Iran through sanctions.
"If France is staying to contribute to Syria's future, great, but if they are doing this to protect the (militia), this will bring no benefit to anyone", Mevlut Cavusoglu said, according to Hurriyet daily, in comments also partially carried by the state news agency Anadolu.
"We are transitioning primary responsibility for the defeat of the few remaining ISIS remnants in Syria to our allies and partners on the ground inside Syria", a USA administration official told VOA Friday, using an acronym for the Islamic State group.
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But President Trump, who has long favored a US withdrawal from the Middle East, has received praise from some quarters. A recent U.S. report said there were still as many as 14,000 IS militants in Syria and even more in neighbouring Iraq.
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The Turkish buildup comes even though Turkey said it would delay a promised offensive in eastern Syria in the wake of U.S. Department of Defense and the Central Command seeking comment outside of normal business hours went unanswered.
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But the extremists are largely confined to a remote desert enclave hundreds of miles (kilometres) to the southeast of Manbij. Russian president Vladimir Putin said in a news conference Thursday that he agreed with the U.S.'s decision.
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