Pompeo confident of good outcome for Turkey and Kurds

Pompeo confident of good outcome for Turkey and Kurds

Pompeo confident of good outcome for Turkey and Kurds

Seeking to quell concern about the USA troop withdrawal from Syria, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday described the American exit as a "tactical change" in military strategy that wouldn't deter efforts to defeat ISIS or hurt US interests in the region.

"Russia, Iran and Syria have been the biggest beneficiaries of the long term USA policy of destroying ISIS in Syria - natural enemies", Trump continued.

The U.S. and Turkey have been allies for more than six decades, but in recent years their relationship has been repeatedly strained by disputes.

So far the U.S. military has only started to move equipment out of Syria.

Bolton said last Sunday that the Trump administration would delay pulling American troops from Syria until Turkey assures the USA that Kurdish forces won't be touched.

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Ankara has been infuriated by US support for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by the YPG, under the pretext of fighting against Daesh.

After media reports suggesting the departure of U.S. forces had begun, the Pentagon later said no troops had yet withdrawn and stressed that the battle against ISIS was continuing as US-backed forces try to capture the group's last remaining pockets of territory in Syria.

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USA national security adviser John Bolton suggested last week that protection for Washington's Kurdish allies would be a precondition of the US withdrawal.

While Turkey aims to pursue the Kurdish forces allied with the United States, the Russia- and Iran-backed Syrian government sees a chance to recover extensive territory.

Erdogan rebuffed a proposed meeting with Bolton in Ankara on January 8, then took to live television instead to insult him for a lack of perspective.

Turkey, however, remains firmly committed to removing what they call a Kurdish "terrorist" threat coming from the Euphrates River valley, and is actively preparing for a possible cross-border operation.

But, he added, "we also know that those are fighting alongside of us for all this time deserve to be protected as well".

Turkey considers the PKK a terrorist group and there are fears Turkey will attack Kurdish fighters inside Syria when the Americans leave. Syria's deputy foreign minister said on Wednesday he was optimistic about renewed dialogue with the Kurds. The U.S. provided military training and supplied truckloads of weapons to the YPG, disregarding warnings from Ankara that the YPG is organically linked to the PKK, and partnering with one terrorist group to fight another was not acceptable.

Similarly to Pompeo, Republican U.S. Sen.

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