Syria’s Manbij’s Deal to Be Implemented as Turkish-America Crisis Clears Off

A Turkish army patrol at the surrounding of Manbij – September 17, 2018 (Anadolu)

A Turkish army patrol at the surrounding of Manbij – September 17, 2018 (Anadolu)


Though Turkey has specified a date for the removal of the Kurdish “People’s Protection Units” from the city of Manbij, eastern rural Aleppo, under the road map it arrived at with the U.S. concerning the area, the deal’s terms were not implemented three days after it was signed.

In an interview with “CNNTURK,” the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, said that the “Unites” will withdrew from Manbij starting from September 4.

However, Turkey and U.S. developed a diplomatic crisis due to the former’s arrest of the American Pastor Andrew Brunson, which led to a delay of the deal’s implementation process.

As a result of the deteriorating relations between the two sides and the exchanged economic sanctions, the Manbij deal witnessed no progress in the past two days.

The Deal “Is Not Dead”: Indications of Implementation

With the American procrastination in relation to the deal’s execution, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said that the Turkish-American deal is postponed however “is not completely dead,” according to the Turkish newspaper “Hürriyet,” which quoted Erdoğan on the way back from a visit to the Hungarian capital Budapest on Thursday, October 11.

As to accelerate the implementation process, the Turkish official statements were successive, accusing the “Democratic Union Party” (PYD) and the “People’s Protection Units” (YPG) of surrounding the city with trenches. The Turkish president has also accused the U.S. of not keeping its promises in relation to the removal of the “Kurdish” forces from Manbij.

The first indicators came up with the U.S. announcement of beginning a training with Turkey as to carry out joint patrols in the city, in a first step following the tension that ruled the relationship between the two countries.

On October 2, the U.S. Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis said that his country and Turkey have started a training process as to soon activate joint patrols in the area of Manbij, adding that “the training now is under way and we’ll just have to see how that goes.”

The Turkish Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar has on October 9 said that the training undertaken by Turkey and the U.S., relating to Manbij’s patrols has started toady.

The second indicator followed the release of the American pastor Andrew Brunson, whom Turkey imprisoned on the accusation of participating in the failed coup in September 2015.

The Turkish authorities have released the American pastor on October 12, after he was penalized by a suspended sentence to three years, a month and 15 days imprisonment, according to the Turkish “Anadolu” agency.

The court has ordered the pastor’s release from home arrest, which will accordingly cancel the major reason for the Turkish-American dispute and accelerate the implementation of the signed deals between them, the freezing of which or cessation have led to a crisis.

The release of the pastor resulted of a secret deal between Ankara and Washington, according to what “NBC New” network has reported, quoting officials in the administration of the American Presidents, Donald Trump.

Despite the fact that the deal’s terms are not yet clear, it will effectively contribute in the activation of the relationships between both sides, in addition to the betterment of Turkey’s bonds with the NATO.

What Are the Provisions of the Manbij Deal?

The initial Turkish-American talks about Manbij took place were scheduled to be conducted on March 13; however, the meeting was delayed due to the dismissal of the American Secretary of State Affairs Rex W. Tillerson and assigning Mike Pompeo.

The initial implementation of the deal was postponed because the U.S. has freeze it after the dismissal of Tillerson, before talks went back to normal between the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs and the American Secretary of State.

The Turkish-American action plan, sealed in June, provides for the implementation of several defined stages, starting with the withdrawal of the “Units” leaders, then the Turkish and American Intelligence services tackling the task of observation in the city, 45 days following the meeting that brought together Çavuşoğlu and Pompeo last June 13.

The third phase provides for the establishment of a local administration in 60 days, while the local and military councils, to provide the city with services and security, will be formed according to the ethnic distribution of the population.

Turkey hopes that agreements and understandings with the U.S. will lead to applying the agreed upon Manbij deal to other border areas, according to the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs; nonetheless, the Manbij deal has not yet been realized, and it seems that Turkey has to wait for its execution prior to the start of understandings concerning the areas at the Syrian-Turkish border.

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