Turkey targets east of Syria after securing Idlib

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Asked to respond to Erdogan's complaint that the U.S. supports IS, a State Department official responded, "We have been abundantly clear by our words and actions that the US-led Global Coalition is in Syria to defeat [IS] and to support stabilization activities so people can safely and voluntarily return home to help ensure that the defeat of [IS] is enduring".

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his US counterpart Donald Trump discussed bilateral ties and the latest developments in Syria, including the Manbij road map and Idlib, in a phone call on Thursday, Turkey's presidential press office said Thursday. It remains to be seen whether the renewed tensions between Turkey and the SDF will interfere with those plans.

However, SDF officials and civilians told Syria Direct on Wednesday that shelling was ongoing that afternoon.

Part of the roadmap calls for joint US-Turkish patrols near Manbij, which Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Tuesday would begin any day. Adopted in June, the agreement was created to defuse tensions between Turkish-backed rebels and YPG fighters in the area.

The United States has voiced concern over Turkish air strikes on Kurdish fighters in Syria, which led the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), a US-allied force, to temporarily suspend its fight against the Islamic State (IS) group.

In a speech to the Turkish parliament on Tuesday, President Erdogan said that the latest attacks marked the beginning of "more extensive and effective operations" against YPG positions east of the Euphrates.

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Akar added that Turkey still faced terror threats as the Iraqi government and the Kurdish regional government have not taken effective steps against the PKK.

Another Turkish operation-Olive Branch-launched alongside Turkish-backed rebels earlier this year ousted the YPG from the traditionally Kurdish-majority city of Afrin as well as outlying areas of countryside.

The Manbij deal focuses on the withdrawal of the PKK's Syrian offshoot, the YPG terrorist organization, from the district that is located west of the Euphrates river in order to establish stability in the region.

Turkey, Washington's main Muslim ally within North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, considers the YPG an enemy and has already intervened to sweep the fighters from territory west of the Euphrates in military campaigns over the past two years.

Last week, Army Gen. Joseph Votel, head of U.S. Central Command, told reporters traveling with him in the Middle East that the soldiers' training is expected to last "several more days", and then will transition to combined patrols. "The clashes and Turkish bombardment that are happening now are only [designed] to test the reaction of the Americans".

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