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US pumps brakes as Ankara touts Manbij deal

No agreement has been struck between Turkey and the United States on the control of Manbij, though Ankara is eager to report one with its somewhat estranged ally.
American army vehicles drive north of Manbij city, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria March 9, 2017. REUTERS/Rodi Said - RC1D16A42820

By now it's become customary: Whenever Ankara says it's reached agreement with Washington on Syria, Washington responds, “Not quite.”

So it was yesterday, when State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert declared, “We don’t have any agreements yet with the Government of Turkey.” She was responding to reporters’ queries regarding an earlier assertion by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu that Turkey and the United States had agreed on a deal whereby the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) would leave the town of Manbij and the city would be patrolled jointly by US and Turkish troops. “We are continuing to have ongoing conversations regarding Syria and other issues of mutual concern,” she noted.

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