By Selen Temizer, Mohamad Misto and Levent Tok
The terrorists nested along the western bank of Euphrates River in northern Syria will be repelled in one month, according to a plan worked out by the U.S. and Turkey.
The Manbij plan is expected to come into force on June 4, according to sources familiar to the meetings between delegations of the two states, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Friday it had outlined a roadmap for cooperation on Manbij following negotiations with a visiting U.S. delegation to Ankara.
The final agreement, however, will be announced during a meeting between Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his U.S. counterpart Mike Pompeo on June 4 in Washington, the sources said, adding that some details might change during the meeting, but the main agenda will be preserved.
Should the final deal be agreed on June 4, YPG/PKK terrorists will leave Manbij in accordance with a date to be determined in Washington.
Meanwhile, senior members of the terrorist group started leaving the area and to settle in Ayn al-Arab and Ayn Isa villages along the Turkish border, according to Turkish intelligence sources.
Second and third phase
In the second phase which is expected to start 45 days after June 4, the U.S. and Turkish military and intelligence authorities will start a joint inspection of Manbij.
The third phase includes forming a local administration in Manbij within 60 days after June 4.
The military council responsible for security and the local council responsible for municipal services will be formed taking ethnic distribution of the population into consideration.
Following a visit by former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Ankara in February, Turkey and the U.S. established a mechanism to address separate issues in working groups, including the stabilization of Manbij and to prevent any undesirable clashes.
The first meeting of the working group on Syria was held on March 8-9 in Washington.
U.S. military support for the YPG/PKK terrorist group in Manbij has strained ties between Ankara and Washington and has led to fears of military clashes between the two NATO allies, since there are roughly 2,000 U.S. troops in the city.
In January, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch in Afrin, northern Syria to clear terrorist groups from the area. After liberating the city of Afrin, Ankara said it might also extend its operation further east to Manbij unless the YPG/PKK terrorist group leaves the strategically located city.