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    Turkish troops take control of Bursayah hill, which separates the Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin from the Turkey-controlled town of Azaz, Syria, Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018

    Turkey to Prevent US From Turning Safe Zone in Northern Syria Into Second Manbij – Ankara

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    ANKARA (Sputnik) – Turkey will not allow the United States to impede talks on establishing safe zones in northern Syria, as was the case with the Syrian region of Manbij, where Washington did not keep its commitments to Ankara, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

    "The US specialists have already begun to arrive in Turkey as part of our agreements with the United States on the establishment of a joint operations centre for the creation of a safe zone in northern Syria. It is a good start. We will discuss the next step, but we will not allow it to become a second Manbij", Cavusoglu told reporters.

    The foreign minister added that Turkey and the United States had some disagreements concerning the safe zone and were negotiating the matter further.

    "If we fail to reach an agreement, we have our own plans in this case", Cavusoglu said.

    The statement comes after the US and Turkish troops who will work at a coordination centre for the joint operations and planned security zone in northern Syria arrived on 12 August in the Turkish border province of Sanliurfa.

    Earlier this month, Ankara and Washington reached a long-promised agreement on a safe zone along Syria's border with Turkey, which views the Kurdish militants operating in Syria's northern areas as a threat to national security. Damascus opposes the plan, labelling it as a violation of both Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and of international law.

    In 2018, Turkey and the United States agreed on a plan to withdraw all Kurdish militants from Manbij and allow the local population to set up a new city council. However, there has not been any progress on this matter since, according to Ankara, Washington has been putting off carrying out the road map.

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    United States, Mevlut Cavusoglu, safe zone, Syria, Turkey
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