In this March 28, 2018 file photo, a Syrian fighter from the Kurdish police, guards the entrance of the Manbij Military Council the Kurdish led militia group that defending Manbij, north Syria. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)
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The leading Syrian Kurdish militia said Tuesday it would withdraw from Manbij, easing fears of a direct clash between NATO allies Washington and Ankara over the strategic northern town.The Kurds were key players in the fight against Daesh, the Islamic State group (ISIS), whose last holdout fighters have launched a deadly offensive against pro-regime forces further south.Manbij is a Sunni Arab-majority town that lies just 30 kilometres (19 miles) south of the Turkish border, and where US and French troops belonging to the Western coalition against IS are stationed.The Pentagon said US troops would remain in the town for now.For months, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to march on Manbij, accusing the YPG of being the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is blacklisted in Turkey.Turkey's state news agency Anadolu, however, has said that after the YPG withdraws, the US and Turkish militaries would begin joint operations in Manbij.
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