02:36 GMT +316 November 2019
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    In this Nov. 7, 2018, photo released by the U.S. Army, U.S. soldiers gather for a brief during a combined joint patrol rehearsal in Manbij, Syria

    US Troops Fully Withdrawn from Manbij - Senior US State Department Official

    © AP Photo / U.S. Army photo by Spc. Zoe Garbarino
    Middle East
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    The Syrian army previously retook control over the city of Manbij amid a confrontation between Kurdish militants and Turkish forces that started almost a week ago, following the beginning of Ankara's offensive in Syria.

    The United States will increase sanction pressure on Ankara unless the crisis in north-eastern Syria is resolved, a senior US state department official said, as quoted by Reuters.

    According to the official who spoke on condition of anonymity, US troops have completely pulled out from the northern Syrian city of Manbij. However, he added that the US still retains control over the airspace in north-eastern Syria.

    The State Department official also underlined that the US would only define a ceasefire as troops on the ground halting their offensive. This, if implemented, would be a major step towards the normalisation of US-Turkish relations.

    On 9 October, Turkey launched an offensive in neighbouring Syria in a bid to create a safe zone along the border, clearing the area of Kurdish fighters.

    Civilians ride a pickup truck as smoke billows following Turkish bombardment on Syria's northeastern town of Ras al-Ain in the Hasakeh province along the Turkish border on October 9, 2019
    © AFP 2019 / DELIL SOULEIMAN
    Civilians ride a pickup truck as smoke billows following Turkish bombardment on Syria's northeastern town of Ras al-Ain in the Hasakeh province along the Turkish border on October 9, 2019

    Turkey considers the Kurdish forces in Syria to be an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party, which it has classified as a terrorist organisation.

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    troops, Manbij, Turkey, Syria
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