U.S. appears to root for Kurdish support in Raqqa push: Turkey

A displaced Syrian family unload their belongings at a makeshift camp for displaced people near the town of Manbij, Syria.

His announcement stood in stark contrast to previous threats from Ankara that it would hit Syrian Kurdish militia - considered "terrorists" by Turkey - unless they withdrew from Manbij.

Turkey's military announced the meeting in a brief statement.

Forces are crowding ISIS, especially around Bab.

The Turkish press has carried allegations against Mercy Corps and other worldwide groups in recent months, claiming that the NGOs were supporting armed groups against Turkey's government.

Turkey sent troops across the border into Syria in August, backing Free Syrian Army rebels in battles against Islamic State. "We remain hopeful that the government of Turkey will allow us to return to serve those in critical need", it added. The U.S. -led coalition "has taken this deliberate action to reassure coalition members and partner forces, deter aggression and keep the focus on defeating ISIS", spokesman Col. John Dorrian said on Twitter. With the USA backing the Kurds, Russia backing the Syrian army and the Kurds allying with the Syrian army, at least tentatively, the isolation of Turkey and its rebel allies has presented a huge strategic victory for Assad, whom Western and Arab Gulf governments once urged to step down.

Turkey has said it wants to create a safe zone inside Syria along the border, 60 miles long and about 28 miles deep.

Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, views the Kurdish group that dominates the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) as "terrorists" and has threatened to drive them from the northern city of Manbij, which the SDF captured from ISIL a year ago with the aid of United States air strikes.

The immediate concern is the tactical situation in and around the northeastern Syrian town of Manbij, where various and opposing forces supported by the U.S., Russian Federation and Turkey have closed to "within hand grenade range of one another", according to Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. Turkey has objected, and its force is headed toward Manbij.

Capt. Davis declined to comment on what actions USA soldiers attached to the Stryker detachment may take should fighting break out again between Turkish troops and members of the Manbij council, or if Syrian troops continue their advance into coalition lines around Manbij.

The chiefs of staff of the Turkish, Russian, and USA militaries are meeting in southern Turkey, amid progress made by a US -led coalition in pushing Islamic State (IS) militants out of Syria.

The meeting between Turkish Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford and Russian Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov appears to be the first of its kind.

Under a framework established in 2015, a USA colonel in Qatar and a Russian counterpart in Syria discuss the locations of operations their countries are carrying out in Syria without sharing intelligence.

The forces of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, backed by Russian airpower and some ground elements, have now moved to the western outskirts of Manbij amid reports that the Manbij Military Council has agreed to cede several outlying villages to them.

Ankara believes it is linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which seeks greater rights and autonomy for Turkey's Kurdish minority and has waged a bloody campaign against the Turkish state since 1984.

The Pentagon's top general met Wednesday with his counterparts from Turkey and Russian Federation, a new step in exploring how military operations by the three countries can be carried out in increasingly tight quarters in Syria.