The Americans have conducted patrols in the city, in vehicles, and on foot, to act as a buffer between Turkey and the US -led coalition's Kurdish partners, a group that's been critical to the fight against ISIS but which Ankara classifies as terrorists.
A Syrian war monitor, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reported earlier that at least two US soldiers were killed in the suicide attack outside a restaurant in Manbij.
While the trip proved illuminating for the President, however, it did not shake him of his conviction that USA troops should begin returning after years of overseas engagements, and there were few indications on Wednesday that the attack in Manbij would throw him from his goal.
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Only two troops had been killed in action in Syria previously, a Pentagon spokesman said.
On Wednesday, a witness in Manbij said the attack had targeted a restaurant where American military personnel were meeting members of the local militia that Washington backs there.
Analyst Mutlu Civiroglu said it was not immediately clear what the USA president meant by a "safe zone", or who he thought would patrol it. The U.S. hailed that victory as a significant milestone in the ultimate defeat of ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
What's next: Citing a rebel commander backed by Ankara, Reuters reports that Syrian rebels in Turkey are awaiting "zero hour" to attack Manbij.
The attack came weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump said the group had been defeated there and that he would pull out all American forces. Since then, United States officials and Trump himself have suggested the withdrawal would be slower than initially thought. Last week, White House National Security Adviser John Bolton went to Ankara seeking agreements on conditions for the USA withdrawal and guarantees not to attack the SDF, but Erdogan refused to meet with him.
Manbij has been held by US-backed fighters allied to the Kurdish YPG militia since they took it from ISIS in 2016.
"It raises the question of how Manbij would fare absent the current US force posture, given recent proposals for Turkey to establish a safe-zone in the region", he said.