US Army Col. Sean Ryan briefs Pentagon reporters via teleconference on June 19, 2018. Photo: US DoD
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Turkish soldiers "will not" enter the northern Syrian city of Manbij, which is currently under the control of the US-led anti-ISIS coalition and the local military council, the coalition's spokesperson revealed.
The coalition's spokesperson, US Army Col. Sean Ryan, was asked to clarify how coalition and Turkish troops are coordinating their patrols in-line with the roadmap signed on June 4.
"They're independent coordinations, they're not joint patrols. I can tell you that Turkish soldiers will not go into Manbij," said Ryan, while briefing Pentagon reporters on Tuesday night.
Turkish officials including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have repeatedly said it will cleanse Manbij of "terrorists."
"Manbij Military Council is in control of all the area, and so this will just be basically along the northern demarcation line is where the conflict will take to it," said Ryan.
Ryan was asked what reassurances locals should have that Turkish forces will not enter the city.
He called it "an agreement between both countries," adding that "all the details are still going to come out."
"And I haven't seen the final say on that, but from what we're being told on our side is they will not enter Manbij, or any other area, from the 4 June agreement," said Ryan.
Several sources have told Rudaw that Turkish forces are to patrol outside of the city, but within the Sajur, or Euphrates Shield, border.
The government of Syrian regime leader Bashar al-Assad has called the presence of both US and Turkish troops an "incursion
Through the ISIS conflict, the coalition has partnered with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an umbrella force spearheaded by the Peoples' Protection Units (YPG). Ankara considers the YPG to be the Syrian extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a banned party in Turkey that is designated as a terrorist organization by Ankara and Washington.