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Middle East: US, Turkey on collision course in Syria′s Manbij

 The United States and Turkey are on a collision course in northern Syria, threatening to ignite a dangerous new phase in the Syrian civil war, undermine the fight against the "Islamic State" (IS) and redraw the map of the Middle East.

The epicenter of this brewing conflict is Manbij, where the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Turkish-backed rebels face off across a combustible frontline.

The SDF, a mixed Arab and Kurdish force, captured Manbij from IS with US-led coalition support in August 2016, extending the boundaries of the de-facto autonomous Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, or Rojava, across the west bank of the Euphrates River.

Fearing the Kurdish YPG militia, the dominant force in the SDF, would expand the offensive to link up with Kurdish-controlled enclave of Afrin further to the west, the Turkish military and Syrian rebel allies intervened in Operation "Euphrates Shield" in August 2016.

Seven months later Turkey and its rebel allies had vanquished IS and carved out a zone of control in northern Syria. Operation Euphrates Shield set the stage for the Turkish military and its rebel allies to launch an offensive against the YPG in Afrin, which they captured this March after a two-month offensive.

Read more: US, Turkey on collision course in Syria′s Manbij | News | DW | 31.03.2018

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