January 24, 2018 / 11:44 AM / 7 months ago

Turkey sees small possibility of coming face-to-face with U.S. in Syria's Manbij

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Wednesday he did not think Turkey will come face-to-face with the United States as it carries out military operations in Syria, seeing only a small possibility of this happening in the Manbij area.

In an interview with Reuters, Bozdag said Turkey would, if necessary, continue to use airspace over Syria’s Afrin region as its incursion against the U.S.-backed Kurdish YPG militia entered a fifth day.

Bozdag, who is also the government spokesman, added that Turkey was ready for all kinds of cooperation with the United States and Russia if that would bring peace to the region.

Turkey opened a new front in Syria’s multi-sided civil war with its Afrin operation, which it has dubbed “Olive Branch”. But it could also threaten U.S. plans to stabilize and rebuild a large area of northeast Syria.

Manbij, to the east of Afrin, is part of a much larger area of northern Syria controlled by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), led by the YPG.

Reporting by Orhan Coskun and Ercan Gurses; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by David Dolan

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