Turkey proposes joint-US plan to remove Kurd militia from Syria's Manbij

The US has asked Turkey to show more restraint in its offensive against a Kurdish militia in Syria

The US has asked Turkey to show more restraint in its offensive against a Kurdish militia in Syria

The United States and Turkey pulled back from the brink of a potentially disastrous crisis on Friday, agreeing to normalize badly strained relations over Syria and other issues that had threatened the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies' longstanding ties.

Acknowledging that US-Turkey relations have been in crisis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Turkish counterpart said Friday in Ankara that the two countries will create the groups to deal with points of friction.

Speaking at a joint news conference with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Cavusoglu also said Tillerson's visit marked a critical point for the future of the relations between two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

Tillerson will meet on Friday morning Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu who was the only other official present at the meeting and acted as translator, United States sources said.

"With the will that we put forward as of yesterday, we have taken an important turn in terms of normalizing our relations".

Turkey's operation against the YPG, which Ankara blacklists as a terror group, has seen Turkish troops fighting a militia which is closely allied with the USA in the battle against Islamic State (IS) group jihadists.

Washington has warned that Turkey's operation against the People's Protection Units (YPG) Kurdish militia in the Afrin region of Syria risks distracting from the fight against jihadists.

Turkey is riled over Washington's support to the YPG - the top US ally in the fight against the Islamic State group.


Tillerson is now on a Middle East tour and was visiting Ankara, Turkey where he tried to ease the tensions between his counterpart, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

In Brussels, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the United States and Turkey are in open dialogue about their differences.

Such a joint deployment could take place if YPG fighters first withdrew to positions east of the Euphrates river, long a Turkish demand. Turkey's military campaign against Kurds in northern Syria has alarmed the US leaders who have watched as the fighting has sapped energy from the fight against remaining IS strongholds. US troops are already stationed near Manbij. The United States has armed, trained and aided YPG fighters with air support and special forces, as the main ground force in its campaign against ISIL in Syria.

While recognizing Turkey's right to secure its borders, Tillerson urged Ankara to show restraint in its military operation in Syria.

Turkey has threatened to move its troops into Manbij, where there is already a USA presence.

"The target for the military operations needs to continue to be (Islamic State) and the United Nations listed terrorist organizations", Federica Mogherini said in Bulgaria.

"We will work together... we have good mechanisms on how we can achieve this, there is a lot of work to be done", he said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says around 80 civilians have been killed, along with 160 Kurdish fighters in a slow-moving offensive launched by Turkey on January 20.

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