The Pentagon has posted photos of U.S. military vehicles in Manbij, the Syrian city until recently at the heart of a dispute between Turkey and America.
The photos appear to show that the U.S. and Turkey are not patrolling together – Turkish vehicles can be seen in the distance, on the other side of what the Coalition calls the Manbij “demarcation line.”
On June 5, the U.S. Department of State said that the U.S. and Turkey agreed to a “roadmap” for Manbij that included that removal of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), part of the Syrian Democratic Forces fighting Islamic State with the U.S.-led Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve.
Turkey sees the YPG as terrorists inextricably linked to the outlawed Turkish Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Anadolu news agency reported on May 30 that the plan would include joint patrols and a joint inspection of the city, as well as the formation of local municipal and military councils.
Coalition spokesperson Colonel Sean Ryan told reporters later: “They’re independent coordinations, they’re not joint patrols. I can tell you that Turkish soldiers will not go into Manbij.”
Manbij already has a military council – helpfully called Manbij Military Council – and its spokesperson Shervan Derwish told The Defense Post that the U.S. has given locals guarantees that they will be protected from outside attacks.
Joint patrols began on June 18 and the photos released on the U.S. military’s DVIDS website are dated June 24, making them likely from the fourth round of patrols reported by the Turkish General Staff on Sunday.
.@Coalition Forces, along with #Turkey will conduct independent, coordinated patrols today on opposite sides of the #Manbij demarcation line. These patrols will ensure peace and stability. pic.twitter.com/9XBQZcvfDU
— Inherent Resolve (@CJTFOIR) June 26, 2018
Earlier on Tuesday, CJTF-OIR tweeted that “Coalition Forces, along with Turkey” would again be conducting “independent, coordinated patrols” on opposite sides of the Manbij demarcation line.
“These patrols will ensure peace and stability,” they added.