02:18 GMT +322 January 2020
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    Free Syrian Army (FSA) in cooperation with Turkish forces have captured several villages close to Manbij, northern Syria, that were under control of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Turkish Haber7 broadcaster reported Wednesday.

    ANKARA (Sputnik) — The US-backed SDF predominately consists of Kurdish fighters, linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) outlawed in Turkey.

    Earlier this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged PKK-affiliated Syria's Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) to leave Manbij.

    The Euphrates Shield operation by Turkey and FSA fighters began on August 24, 2016. During the operation, the joint forces liberated the Syrian cities of Jarabulus and Al Bab. Erdogan said that the aim of the operation was to clear the region of terrorists and make it a safety zone for refugees.

    Since 2011, Syria has been engulfed in a civil war, with government forces fighting against numerous opposition and terrorist groups, including al-Nusra Front and Daesh, banned in a range of countries, including Russia.

    On February 16, Syrian National Council Co-chair Ilham Ehmed said in an interview with Firat News Agency that the safe zones proposed by the Trump administration would be created in areas under control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

    Turkish chief presidential adviser Ilnur Cevik told Sputnik on Tuesday that Ankara would be against the creation of safe zones in Kurdish areas in Syria because they might be used by Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), considered a terrorist organization in Turkey.

    Tensions between Ankara and the Kurds escalated in July 2015 when a ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) collapsed because of a series of terror attacks allegedly committed by PKK members.


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