President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses mukhtars, heads of Turkish villages and neighborhoods, during the 44th Mukhtars Meeting at the presidential complex in Ankara, on January 24, 2018. (AFP / Adem ALTAN)
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Turkey's president Wednesday vowed to expand its operation against U.S.-allied Kurdish forces in northern Syria toward the town of Manbij, which would bring Turkish troops and their Syrian allies closer to U.S. forces supporting the Kurds against Daesh (ISIS).U.S. forces are based in Kurdish-held parts of northeastern Syria but not in or near Afrin.Any shift toward Manbij would bring NATO member Turkey and its Syrian allies closer to U.S. forces, which are based nearby and patrol the town. Erdogan said Turkish troops and allied fighters have killed at least 268 Syrian Kurdish fighters since the operation began.The U.S. and Russia reached an agreement in 2013 to remove all chemical weapons from Syria, but there have been several reported chemical attacks since then, including one last year that led President Donald Trump to order a retaliatory missile attack on a Syrian air base.
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