U.S. allies 'temporarily' halt campaign against IS in Syria

U.S. allies 'temporarily' halt campaign against IS in Syria

U.S. allies 'temporarily' halt campaign against IS in Syria

On Wednesday, the SDF said the Turkish attacks had forced it to suspend its US -backed campaign against Islamic State near the Iraqi border.

The U.S. -led coalition, Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), said in a statement, the combined patrols allow U.S. -led coalition and Turkish military to complement the local security structure for security and stability in Manbij.

Turkey has accused the USA -back Kurdish forces of containing elements of the YPG, a Kurdish terrorist group, a charge the Pentagon has repeatedly said is not accurate.

Kurdish ground troops were a key element in the USA -backed offensive that pushed ISIS out of Manbij in 2016.

The escalation comes a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his party lawmakers that the military was preparing to launch an operation against Kurdish forces east of the Euphrates River.

In the multi-sided conflict, Islamic State fighters have been driven from almost all of the self-proclaimed "caliphate" they controlled in Syria and Iraq by a range of foes including the US -led coalition, the Iraqi government, the Russian-backed Syrian government and Iran-backed Shi'ite paramilitaries.

However Turkey has repeatedly threatened a new offensive in northern Syria and has shelled YPG positions there in the past couple of days.

Turkey's president said Tuesday his country has finalized plans for a "comprehensive and effective" operation that would target USA -backed Kurdish militia in Syria east of the Euphrates River, a move that could further increase tension in the area where US -led coalition forces are based.

The city is controlled by the US-backed Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia, which Turkey considers a terrorist group.

A United States base near Manbij, Syria.

"Soon, we will descend on them with more comprehensive and effective" force, said Erdogan, who has long vowed to clear all of northern Syria of the militia.

The Manbij deal focuses on the withdrawal of YPG militants from the city to stabilize the region northeast of the Aleppo province in northern Syria.

Over the years, Turkey has tried to drive out the YPG from the western part of the Euphrates, but has hesitated to intervene in the eastern part to avoid a clash with the U.S., which has military contact points and officers there. "We have concluded our preparations and planning regarding this issue", Erdogan said on Tuesday during his address to the parliamentary group meeting.

Turkey has been fighting a Turkish group called the PKK inside its own borders since 1978.

The Syrian rebel-affiliated Step News Agency reported on Thursday that Kurdish forces are moving armoured vehicles and heavy weaponry from eastern Deir Ezzor to Hassakeh, about 270 kilometres east of Kobani.

Past offensives halted at the banks of the river, in part to avoid direct confrontation with the United States.

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