Kurdish YPG forces reportedly pulling back to east of Euphrates River, US tells Turkey

By bne IntelliNews August 25, 2016

Syrian Kurdish YPG militants are reportedly pulling back to the east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria, US Secretary of State John Kerry told Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on August 25, Hurriyet reports.

The move, demanded by Ankara, will reduce the risk of a potentially dangerous confrontation between the YPG and Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) that have recaptured the strategic town of Jarablus in northern Syria, near the Turkish border.

The news on the pullback comes a day after U.S Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Turkey, aimed at repairing ties that were severely damaged after last month’s failed coup attempt.

Turkey launched a military operation together with the FSA militants on August 24 to seize Jarablus from the Islamic State. The US is providing air cover for the operation.

More Turkish tanks rolled into Syria, Reuters reported on August 25, citing local sources. At least nine more Turkish tanks entered northern Syria on August 25 as part of an operation aimed at driving Islamic State out of the area around Jarablus and preventing Kurdish militia fighters from seizing territory, witnesses told the news agency.

Around Turkish 20 tanks and 14 armoured vehicles crossed the border in northern Syria in the first phase of the operation on August 24. A columnist at Hurriyet newspaper claimed that around 200 soldiers from special forces took part in the operation. Turkish officials are not clearly saying whether more reinforcement would be sent in or how long Turkish forces would stay inside Syria.

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