By Sarp Ozer
ANKARA (AA) – Turkish and U.S. soldiers on Tuesday are beginning joint training on combined patrols in Manbij, northern Syria, Turkey’s national defense minister has announced.
"As of today the Turkish and U.S. Armed Forces began joint training on combined patrolling activities, which will be held in the region, as part of the Manbij Roadmap and Security Principles," Hulusi Akar told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.
Underscoring that the first group of U.S. personnel arrived in Gaziantep, southeastern Turkey on Oct. 2 for training, Akar said: "Following the completion of training, common united patrolling activities will begin in an effort to establish stability and security in the region and to prevent terrorist activities in the future."
Turkey's independent patrolling in Manbij has been "continuing as planned" since June 18, he added.
Citing recent reports of the YPG/PKK terror group surrounding the Manbij district center with trenches and embankments, Akar said: "We have given the necessary warnings to U.S. authorities regarding the matter but have also taken our own measures."
"The terror group must know that when the time and place comes it will be buried in the trenches it has dug," he warned.
The Manbij deal between Turkey and the U.S. focuses on the withdrawal of terrorist YPG/PKK forces from the city to stabilize the region, which is in the northeast of the Aleppo province in northern Syria.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK has taken 40,000 lives, including many women and children. The YPG is its Syrian branch.
Last week Turkey's Defense Ministry said the first batch of U.S. army personnel had arrived in Turkey to join training for joint patrols.