US envoy visits Turkey, Syria; urges focus on Daesh

'In all of his meetings, he encouraged unity of effort and deconfliction', State Department spokesman says.

Michael Hernandez - WASHINGTON (AA) – President Barack Obama’s envoy to the counter-Daesh coalition visited Turkey and Syria during the weekend and urged U.S. partners to focus on the Daesh fight, the State Department said Tuesday.

Spokesman Mark Toner told reporters that Brett McGurk’s meetings were an opportunity for him “to talk to our partners on the ground who are carrying out attacks and assault on Daesh or ISIL on the ground.

“In all of his meetings, he encouraged unity of effort and deconfliction,” Toner said.

McGurk met with senior Turkish officials to discuss Turkey’s efforts to clear northern Syria of terrorist elements, as well as broader cooperation with Turkey on anti-Daesh efforts. 

Across the border in Syria, McGurk met with U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) leaders, and “welcomed the recent liberation of Manbij from ISIL.

“He also ensured ongoing U.S. support for the SDF in their fight against ISIL. And he also emphasized the need for strict adherence to prior commitments made by the SDF,” Toner added. 

Regarding Manbij, Toner said now that Daesh has been forced out of the city the U.S. wants to see “local authorities and local government" re-establish control. 

“The ultimate goal is to get the people who have been displaced, people who were there and living under ISIL's terror - back up and running as a functioning city,” he said.

Daesh was forced out of the previously critical transit hub after three months of intense fighting with the SDF.


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