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US troops block Syrian army from defending key Kurdish cities from Turkey's advance

US TROOPS blocked the Syrian army from entering Kobane and Manbij this morning, despite a deal being struck with Kurdish forces allowing them to defend the semi-autonomous region known as Rojava.

A military agreement has been negotiated by the Syrian Democratic Forces militia alliance under which the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) would enter the largely Kurdish cities of Kobane and Manbij.

The government forces began mobilising to the area late on Sunday night to protect the towns, which had come under fierce bombardment by the Turkish military and its jihadist allies of the Free Syrian Army.

But early today, US forces had blocked the bridge which is the main road into Manbij to stop SAA forces from advancing to the city.

Footage showed four vehicles across the road barring anyone from passing.

The US claimed it was “deconflicting” with Moscow and the Syrian government so that the SAA forces can find a route into Kobane while keeping US personnel safe.

But sources indicated that the US was also blocking roads outside Kobane and video footage circulated appearing to show vehicles preventing entry.

Talks between the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Syrian government produced the agreement, which is purely on a military basis. 

Rojava’s autonomous administration remains responsible for running the areas under its control while political negotiations were said to be continuing.

Internal displacement continued today, with more than 200,000 civilians forced to flee their homes by the Turkish invasion. 

Iraqi Kurdistan was bracing for an influx of refugees. In the province of Dohuk, the relief and humanitarian affairs board said it was expecting at least 50,000 people to arrive.

Turkish forces began an offensive towards Manbij as the Star went to press and clashes with SAA troops were expected.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that the Turkish military would give the Kurdish-controlled city to “its true Arab owners.”

European Union foreign ministers called for member states to halt arms sales to Ankara and condemned its invasion of Syria.

But the bloc fell short of imposing an arms embargo as sought by Germany and France, leaving individual countries to determine their own policies.

Britain refused to join its allies in ending arms sales and was slammed by MEPs for opposing condemnation of Turkey as the EU worked to agree a common position.

US President Donald Trump vowed to hit Turkey with “powerful” sanctions today.

It is believed that the European Council will also discuss this option at meetings on Thursday and Friday.


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