Deal for Syrian army to enter Afrin, says Syrian Kurdish official

Turkey sets up new observation post in Syria's HTS-held Idlib

Tillerson said particular attention will be focused on the Syrian town of Manbij, where USA forces are deployed with the Syrian Kurdish militia.

Two Turkish soldiers were martyred and one was wounded on Saturday during operations in Turkey and northwestern Syria, according to the Turkish military, Anadolu reports.

The deal underscores the increasingly tangled battlefield in northern Syria, driven by a web of rivalries and alliances among Kurdish forces, the Syrian government, rebel factions, Turkey, the United States and Russian Federation.

Last week, a top United States general said his forces would "respond aggressively" to any Turkish-backed attack on Manbij.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a two-day visit that followed weeks of escalating anti-American rhetoric from the Turkish government.

Acknowledging that ties with Turkey are at a "crisis point", U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pledged cooperation with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government but also issued new warnings over the erosion of democratic norms and the country's plan to sign a defense deal with Russian Federation.

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"Manbij is going to be given priority in our joint working effort", Mr Tillerson said. "We're going to work together moving forward". "We take utmost care about civilians in Operation Olive Branch", the source said.

"We agreed our objectives are precisely the same", he said, citing the destruction of Islamic State stragglers and stabilizing the country to allow the return home of refugees and people uprooted within the country.

Cemile Ahmet, 32, said: "The PYD/PKK terrorist organization put more pressure on us. Regime forces are expected to head from Aleppo to Afrin in the upcoming hours", the Kurdish official said.

He warned that "if the YPG takes hold of these areas [west of the river], stability will never enter this area. We're going to work through the issues that are causing difficulties for us and we're going to resolve them".

Turkey considers YPG a terrorist organisation as it opposes the Kurds' push for a separate nation.

The spark for the sharp downturn in relations has been Turkey's almost month-old military campaign against the USA -allied forces in the northern Syrian Kurdish enclave of Afrin, with Mr. Erdogan and his aides saying the Turkish army's offensive will expand despite the presence of US military special forces in their path. It has also pressed Washington to push the YPG to withdraw to the east of Euphrates from Manbij.

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