Erdogan says Turkey-US deal on Syria’s Manbij delayed but ‘not dead’

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The deal between Turkey and the United States regarding the northern Syrian town of Manbij is delayed “but not completely dead”, President Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying by Hurriyet newspaper on Thursday.

Erdogan made the comments to reporters on Tuesday on the flight back from his visit to Hungary.

Asked about the trial of US evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey, Erdogan said he was not in a position to interfere with the judiciary because Turkey is a state of law.

Meanwhile, extremists and Turkish-backed militants have withdrawn most heavy weapons from territory around Syria’s last major opposition stronghold ahead of a deadline, a monitor said.

The weapons pullback is the first major test of a truce deal brokered by government-backed Russia and opposition militants-backer Turkey last month to avoid what the United Nations warned would be the appalling humanitarian consequences of a major government offensive.

As agreed by the two NATO allies in June, Turkish and US forces had carried out patrols in Manbij, but those are independent of each other. Training is the last step before the two countries carry out joint patrols.

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