Turkey has asked the US to withdraw its troops from the Syrian town of Manbij in order to prevent a potential confrontation between the forces of both sides. Ankara's message comes just as when the two Nato members have jointly agreed to de-escalate tensions in the region.
Turkey has launched a major military offensive, codenamed "Operation Olive Branch", against Kurdish insurgents in Syria's Afrin and Manbij, the area where Washington has deployed its personnel in training capacity. This has put the US -- a strong backer of YPG Kurdish fighters -- and Turkey -- which considers Kurdish extremists as "terrorists -- at loggerheads.
Ankara's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said it is mandatory for the American personnel stationed in Manbij to "withdraw" and urged Washington to undertake "more concrete steps rather than words".
"The United States needs to break its link with (the) terrorist organization and make them drop their weapons completely. They need to collect the weapons they gave, they need to withdraw from Manbij immediately," said Cavusoglu on Saturday, 27 January, referring to the Kurdish YPG group.
His remarks come just as when the US National Security Advisor HR McMaster spoke to Turkish president's chief policy advisor and spokesman, Ibrahim Kahn over the telephone. Both sides have also agreed to improve the communication channels between on ground in order to overcome the challenges during the anti-terror operations.
Top authorities in Washington and Ankara are in touch discussing the latest situation. As part of the development on Saturday, 28 January, the US has agreed to stop supplying weapons to Kurdish fighters immediately – a welcoming step from Turkey's point of view and a diplomatic victory.
"It was emphasised that Turkey's legitimate security concerns must be paid attention to. It was agreed that close coordination would be carried out in order to avoid misunderstandings," said the Turkish presidency in a statement following the phone call with McMaster.
Since the beginning of the offensive, Turkish forces have claimed to have killed nearly 400 Kurdish extremists and Islamic State insurgents in the Syrian enclave of Afrin.