The Latest: Kurdish forces clash with IS in northern Syria




ISTANBUL (AP) — The Latest on developments in the Syrian conflict, following Ankara's incursion into the war-torn state last week (all times local):

3:05 p.m.

A spokesman for Kurdish-led forces in Syria is reporting clashes between the fighters and Islamic State militants near the northern town of Manbij, which was until recently held by the extremist group.

Shervan Darwish, a spokesman for the U.S.-backed Kurdish-led Syria Democratic Forces, says the militants carried out a two-pronged attack on villages south and west of Manbij, using at least three car bombs.

Darwish says the militants took advantage of clashes between Kurdish-led forces and Turkey-backed Syrian rebels advancing from north of Manbij. The Kurdish-led forces, aided by airstrikes from the U.S-led coalition, repelled the attack initially but Darwish says clashes continued on Tuesday.

The Kurdish-led forces seized Manbij from IS earlier this month after a 10-week campaign.

Turkey then sent its troops, aiding Syrian rebels to move in on the next IS-held town, across it borders, prompting clashes between the two U.S.-allies and raising concerns they would distract from the fight against IS.

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2:20 p.m.

Turkey's presidential spokesman has called on the U.S. to "revise" its policy of supporting Kurdish forces battling Turkish troops in Syria after Ankara's incursion last week into the war-torn state.

The comments by Ibrahim Kalin published on Tuesday by the pro-government Daily Sabah came a day after the U.S. urged Turkish troops and Kurdish forces in northern Syria to halt their fighting, saying it hinders efforts to defeat the Islamic State group.

Kalin says that the "Americans should revise their policy of supporting (the Kurdish-led force) at all costs."

The battle in northern Syria now pits U.S. ally Turkey against the Kurdish-led force — a U.S.-backed proxy that is the most effective ground force battling IS militants in Syria's 5-year-old civil war.

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11:30 a.m.

French President Francois Hollande has criticized Turkey's "contradictory" military intervention in Syria and warned Russia not to become a "protagonist" in the war.

Hollande, in a diplomatic speech Tuesday, said "multiple, contradictory interventions carry the risk of a general inflammation" of the fighting that has devastated the country.

He said he could understand Turkey's concern about protecting its borders and fighting the Islamic State group, but criticized actions against Kurdish rebels allied with the U.S.-led coalition against the extremists. France is part of that coalition.

Hollande called for cooperation with Russia and said he would invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to France in October, saying Russia should be "a player in negotiations, not a protagonist in the action."

Hollande said "the absolute urgency is a halt to fighting and a return to negotiations."
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