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Turkey, US to form ‘safe zone’ around Manbij, Syria – Ankara

Turkey and the US will form a “safe zone” around the northern Syrian town of Manbij if Washington keeps its promises, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman said on Thursday. Ibrahim Kalin told state broadcaster TRT Haber that the agreement between Ankara and Washington on Manbij was binding, Reuters reports. The spokesman added that a change in the US secretary of state would not change the deal even if it leads to a one- or two-week delay. Ankara expects Turkish forces and its rebel allies to clear Syria’s Afrin town of militants “very soon,” Kalin said, adding that Ankara had no intention of handing over the town to the Syrian government following the completion of its military offensive.