US, Turkey begin training for joint patrols in Syria’s Manbij

Orient Net 2018-10-02 06:32:00

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The US has now begun training Turkish troops, marking the final step before the two countries begin conducting joint patrols likely later this month around the strategic northern Syrian city of Manbij, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Monday (Oct. 1), AP reported.

Mattis said that initial instruction for Turkey’s military trainers started, and will soon be followed by US training of the broader Turkish force that will conduct the patrols. The forces are being trained in Turkey.

The training had been delayed a bit while equipment was brought in and the two countries worked out the details of how military tactics and operations would be conducted.

Ibrahim Kalin, Turkey’s presidential spokesman, said last week that the patrols would “begin very soon.” Mattis would not commit to a timeline, but acknowledged progress in the training steps needed for the patrols to start.

Kalin said continued US support for the Kurdish forces remains “a serious concern.”

Mattis said the Turkish military has “been very helpful, very professional on setting the rules of engagement and the training up, and we’re on the ground there now.”

The US and the Turks have been conducting independent patrols along the border there.