U.S. appears to root for Kurdish support in Raqqa push: Turkey

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said his country seeks a "trilateral mechanism" to clear the area of "terrorist groups".

The Pentagon, once an avid supporter of Syrian rebel groups fighting Assad, said Monday it had deployed hundreds of troops to defend the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces in the northern Syrian city of Manbij against advancing Turkish forces and allied Syrian opposition groups. "So, what I have pledged to our commanders and what I expect from them is for them to ask for the capabilities that they need and then for us to ensure we have the right command and control, the right force protection, the right resources in place to ensure that we can function properly together".

Clashes between YPG and SDF with Turkish-backed Syrian rebels have been reported around western Manbij in recent days.

Conflicting U.S. and Turkish agendas have surfaced clearly over Manbij, a city controlled by Kurdish-allied militia since its capture from Islamic State a year ago.

Leonid Kalashnikov, a deputy from the State Duma - the lower house of Russia's parliament - said Putin and Erdogan had the "will" to improve strategic cooperation.

In a veiled criticism of Washington, the Turkish premier on Tuesday lashed out at "some allies' unfortunate" choice of Syrian Kurdish militia as possible partners in combatting IS.

It is a measure of the success that forces are having in countering the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria that the conversation is necessary, officials said, adding that operations in Manjib and Bab in northern Syria have created a crowded battlespace.

Chepa said Moscow and Ankara lately increased cooperation against terrorism, which led to "unique" results and "partial" stability in Syria. The Manbij Military Council says the move followed Turkish threats to attack the city. Such disparate agendas in an already crowded battlefield could touch a round of fresh mini-conflicts pitting Turkey and its Free Syrian Army (FSA) allies, some of whom were trained and equipped by the United States, against the coalition-backed YPG and other US-trained Arab forces.

Turkey views the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is waging an insurgency in Turkey. Russian Federation has taken the diplomatic lead in seeking to resolve the war in Syria after its military intervention in 2015 succeeded in bolstering President Bashar al-Assad. With the USA backing the Kurds, Russia backing the Syrian army and the Kurds allying with the Syrian army, at least tentatively, the isolation of Turkey and its rebel allies has presented a huge strategic victory for Assad, whom Western and Arab Gulf governments once urged to step down.

The Manbij dilemma emerged as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan prepared to visit Moscow on Thursday, accompanied by Defense Minister Fikri Isik for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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