YPG battle looms after U.S. pullout announcement

Turkish President and leader of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during his party's parliamentary group meeting at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in Ankara Turkey on 23 October 2018. [Volkan

For the past week Erdogan has threatened to launch a full-scale cross border assault on US -backed Kurdish forces in Syria, which Turkey has long considered a terrorist extension of the outlawed PKK.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday that Ankara and Washington agreed to complete withdrawal of the YPG forces from Manbij before USA pulls out of Syria.

Turkish-backed fighters said Monday they are preparing to move into eastern Syria alongside Turkish troops once American forces withdraw and are already massing on the front line of a town held by Kurdish-led forces.

Cavusoglu warned it would not benefit France if it was staying in Syria to protect the YPG, the main Kurdish militia in Syria. They now face a triple threat from the Syrian government, IS and Turkey, which views them as terrorists due to their links to a Kurdish insurgent group inside Turkey.

Mayadin and Boukamal are to the north and south respectively, of the town of Hajin, which has seen fierce fighting and an increase in US and coalition airstrikes in recent weeks as USA -backed forces battle about 2,000 IS fighters who are clinging to the last sliver of the terror group's caliphate. His comments came amid reports that Turkey-backed Syrian rebels are getting ready to begin a military operation in and near the northern town of Manbij that is controlled by Kurdish-led fighters.

Cavusoglu told Turkish media during a briefing that Ankara has "the power to neutralize [ISIS] alone" amid fears that a USA pull-out will hurt the fight against the militant group.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryakov said Tuesday in an interview with the RIA Novosti news agency that it would be a "big mistake" to dismantle a hotline that Russia and the U.S. use to prevent potential clashes in Syria, despite the United States withdrawal, and said he sees no indications the Americans would do that.

Erdogan added he expected to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin for face-to-face talks about the issue.

UK PM to warn against 'damage' of second Brexit vote
But EU leaders were firm in their assessment that the deal was done and the agreement would not be reopened. It "would further divide our country at the very moment we should be working to unite it".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan "has very strongly informed me that he will eradicate whatever is left of ISIS in Syria... and he is a man who can do it plus, Turkey is right "next door".

He added that there would be no disruption or slowdown of the fight against the militant group.

"We will continue our operations with the worldwide coalition, continue training, and maintain security and stability as long as this partnership continues", he said.

Cavusoglu hit out at France's "support" of the YPG, which he said was "no secret" as he slammed French officials' meetings with leaders of the SDF's political wing last week.

"We consider the security and peace of the Arabs in Syria as our own business".

Idlib is Syria's last major rebel and jihadist stronghold in the country's north.

U.S. President Trump has begun what will be a total withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, declaring on Wednesday they have succeeded in their mission to defeat Islamic State and were no longer needed in the country. "We will see about that", Kalin said on Monday.

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