Turkey slams 'dirty deal' between Syria's Assad and Kurdish forces

9News Europe and Middle East Correspondent Amelia Adams is at the Iraqi border crossing into Syria

Monday's sanctions came a week after the USA reversed its policy in northeast Syria and moved American troops out of the way, allowing Turkey to attack SDF forces. "The ISIS mission is going to stop, ISIS is going to have a resurgence, and we're going to have to go back in five years and do it all again".

The deal with Kurdish-led forces was seen as a boost for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as his troops would return to north-eastern areas for the first time since 2012, when their withdrawal to fight rebels elsewhere allowed Kurdish militias to take control.

One of the most important flashpoints is the city of Manbij, west of the Euphrates river, which Turkey has vowed to capture.

The Russian-backed Syrian forces appear to have moved swiftly to fill the void left by departing Americans.

"A small footprint of United States troops will remain at Tanf Garrison in southern Syria to continue to disrupt remnants of ISIS", the USA president asserted. A USA military spokesman, Col. Myles B. Caggins, confirmed American soldiers had pulled out of Manbij.

As of Monday, he said the United Nations had received reports of five facilities hit - all of them allegedly by airstrikes or ground-based strikes carried out by Turkish forces and their allies.

It wasn't until mid-2016 that Kurdish fighters, working as part of a Kurdish-Arab grouping of militias - the Syrian Democratic Forces - organized by the US, dislodged the extremists.

Now Russia is playing that role.

Turkish soldiers and Turkey-backed Syrian fighters gather on the northern outskirts of the Syrian city of Manbij near the Turkish border as Turkey and its allies continue their assault on Kurdish-held border towns in northeastern Syria.

Kelly Craft, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters Washington is "deeply concerned" that Russian troops are patrolling between the two sides. Syrian troops waved flags in the streets.

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The Syrian army deployment followed a deal with Kurdish-led forces, who until last week were United States allies. It said at least 69 civilians have been killed in Syria.

The US has repeatedly denied this, and on Monday Washington announced sanctions on Turkish ministries and senior government officials.

Turkey has vowed to capture Manbij.

The SDF says the Turkish offensive has helped energize Islamic State sleeper cells, just a year after the "caliphate" was effectively dismantled.

Since launching their assault on 9 October, Turkish-backed forces have secured more than 100 kilometres (60 miles) of border, but Ras al-Ain, which the Kurds call Siri Kani, has held out. Many were claimed by ISIS, but the PKK also repeatedly struck targets - mostly Turkish security forces - as its four-decade battle against the Turkish state resumed.

"The sovereignty, independence, unification, and territorial integrity of Syria should be respected and upheld", Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press briefing.

"We didn't agree with the Turks any questions about their presence in Syria and we don't approve of their actions", envoy Alexander Lavrentiev told reporters in Abu Dhabi during an official visit there by Putin.

After opening the way for the Turkish assault with its pullout, Washington is now trying to restrain its fellow North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member.

Turkey, he said, must also "apprehend those responsible, some of whom should be easily identifiable from the video footage they themselves shared on social media". You've heard strong negative reactions across the political spectrum, and our proposed sanctions will be very biting and they will stay in effect until Turkey ends its aggression against the Syrian Kurds and withdraws its forces and proxies from the areas that it's taken. Trump was sending Vice President Mike Pence and national security adviser Robert O'Brien to Ankara to try to begin negotiations over a stop to the fighting.

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