Turkey key country in Syria talks, says FM Cavusoglu

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Officials emphasized that they were only near, but not in, Manbij.

In a first step on Monday, Turkish armoured vehicles began patrolling around Manbij, according to Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim announced on 16 June that the implementation of the road map agreed upon by Washington and Ankara for the YPG leaving Manbij would take 90 days. There's no difference between us and Turkey. We live our lives in peace and security in Turkey.

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"In accordance with the Manbij Roadmap and Manbij Security Principles, coordinated independent patrol activities by Turkish and US forces began June 18, along the demarcation line north of Manbij", Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon told Anadolu Agency.

The Manbij roadmap was announced after a meeting in Washington between Cavusoglu and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The deal focuses on the withdrawal of the PKK-affiliated YPG terror group from the northern Syrian city and stability in the region. Turkey has long demanded that the USA avoid cooperation with the YPG, objecting YPG presence west of the Euphrates River, including the predominantly Arab town of Manbij.

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He pointed out that some of the advanced weapons provided by the United States to PYD, the Syrian arm of PKK, in the framework of the fight against ISIS are being passed to PKK in northern Iraq and other areas.

By the end of last year, Syria's seven-year conflict alone had pushed more than 6.3 million people out of the country, accounting for almost one-third of the global refugee population.

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