ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey's defense minister says Turkish and U.S. soldiers will patrol the key northern Syrian town of Manbij as part of a deal reached this week for the withdrawal of a Syrian Kurdish militia.

Speaking in Brussels after a NATO summit late Friday, Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said he met his American counterpart James Mattis. "We had a very detailed, constructive and positive meeting on the Manbij roadmap," he said.

Turkey has repeatedly called on the U.S. to stop backing the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, which it considers terrorists and an extension of a Kurdish insurgency within its own borders.

The U.S.-backed force has been instrumental in fighting the Islamic State group and pushing them out of northern Syria, including in Manbij.

Canikli's comments were carried by Turkey's official Anadolu news agency.