>> The Syrian army says it's entered the northern town of Manbij, which has been controlled for years by Kurdish fighters backed by US troops. It's the first movement on the Syrian battlefield to stem directly from US president. Donald Trump's surprise announcement two weeks ago that he is pulling out American forces from Syria.
I'm Dominic Evans, Reuters bureau chief in Turkey. The changes in Syria were all sparked by the conversation between President Trump and President Erdogan. The US leader was supposed to be ringing his Turkish counterpart to warn against a possible Turkish incursion into Northern Syria. Instead, in the course of their conversation, Trump changed US policy in Syria by telling Erdogan.
He was going to withdraw US forces from quarter of Syrian territory and hand responsibility for dealing with Islamic State in Syria to the Turkish army. Turkey has complained for years about the US alliance in Syria with the Kurdish YPG militia and has been trying to put an end to that.
But the announcement that the United States was actually pulling out from Syria came as a real shock to Turkish officials. On one level, this is good news for Turkey, it gets rid of a real irritant in relations with the United States, this partnership between Washington and the Kurds.
And gives Turkey the chance to launch military incursions into Northern Syria without the risk of confrontation with US troops. On the other hand, it opens up a far bigger vacuum in Syria than Turkey ever anticipated. US troops had been supporting the Kurdish forces across nearly a quarter of the country.
And if they pull out in the next few months as Trump says they will do, that leaves a whole area of Northeastern Syria open to all sorts of regional powers. Not just Turkey, but the Syrian government itself and its Russian and Iranian backers.