BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari met his Syrian counterpart Walid al-Muallem at Baghdad airport on Thursday, Iraq's Afaq TV channel said. The visit comes after Turkey on Wednesday entered northern Syria as part of an operation aimed at driving Islamic State out of a border area and stopping Kurdish militia fighters from seizing territory. Islamic State has seized territory in both Iraq and Syria. (Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli; editing by John Stonestreet)
Syrian rebels backed by Turkey have taken control of the Syrian town of Jarablus from Islamic State fighters to prevent Kurdish forces from seizing a new swathe of territory on Turkey's southern border, Turkish Defence Minister Fikri Isik said. In an interview with Turkey's NTV channel on Thursday, the minister also said Turkish-backed rebels were "cleansing" Jarablus of Islamic State, who had controlled the strategic town. Syrian rebels backed by Turkish special forces, tanks and warplanes entered one of Islamic State's last strongholds on the Turkish-Syrian border on Wednesday, in Turkey's first major U.S.-backed incursion into its southern neighbor.
The Syrian Kurdish YPG militia said on Thursday its forces taking part in an operation to capture the city of Manbij from Islamic State had returned to their bases after the mission was successfully completed. In a statement, it said military command and all YPG-held positions had been handed to the allied Manbij Military Council, while civilian control was handed to a civilian council on Aug. 15. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that Syrian Kurdish forces had to return to the east of the Euphrates after seizing Manbij, which is located west of the river.