Pompeo: Erdogan threats against Kurds will not stop Syria withdrawal

10 January, 2019, 20:25 | Author: Wade Massey
  • President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House Wednesday Jan. 2 2019 in Washington

Bolton, before arriving in Ankara, said Washington would not leave Syria without first receiving guarantees that Turkey would not attack its allies.

"We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency", Trump tweeted that day, adding that USA troops would leave in the next 30 days.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has called for joint control with Russian Federation and Iran of United States troops' withdrawal from Syria, saying Washington is facing "certain difficulties" with the planned exit.

Mr Bolton said on Sunday he would be seeking assurances from Ankara they would not attack the YPG as a condition to a United States withdrawal - which Mr Trump had failed to address during a December phone call with Mr Erdoğan - in a bid to salvage relations with the Kurds. Initial reports of Gen. Dunford's comments by Military.com on Wednesday incorrectly attributed statements by the four-star general - made in December during a previous visit to Ankara - to the recent meeting held this week. The announcement, which shocked US allies and members of Trump's own administration, stemmed from a phone call with Erdogan where the Turkish leader convinced the president to withdraw and said Turkey would take over the fight against ISIS.

Pompeo said Trump's decision was final and US would withdraw from Syria but Washington would not hesitate to strike if Assad regime used chemical weapons again.

And moving former fighters to the United States poses some of the same challenges the US has faced with men detained at the military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, including whether it's feasible to prosecute militants captured on the battlefields of northern Syria, according to experts.

The US will work with allies to "expel every last Iranian boot" from Syria, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says. "It is sharpening our terror-fighting tools and helping Jordan build its already strong capacity to fight terrorism".

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The Trump administration and Jordanian leaders appear to be on the same page with regards to the fight against Iran's expansion across the region.

"We also look forward to working continually to counter Tehran's malign influence in the region", Pompeo said. The sanctions cover Iran's shipping, financial and energy sectors.

"This is about a combined understanding that the most significant threat to the region is Daesh and the Islamist revolution, and their revolutionary efforts in the region", he said. I think everyone understands what the United States is doing.

Why did Pompeo mention Iran?

"We all want to make sure that whatever threat there is mitigated", Safadi said. If that is achieved, if everybody abides by global norms of behavior, then there'll be no problem. "It's important. We will continue at that".

Later on Tuesday, Pompeo met with Jordan's King Abdullah II at the royal palace in the capital of Amman.

Pompeo also traveled to Erbil, where he was received by Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani, head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

A source with knowledge of the talks said Turkish officials, in the meeting in Ankara, agreed not to conduct military operations against YPG targets while USA forces remained in Syria, but repeated Ankara's position that the YPG is a terrorist organisation which Ankara had every right to expel from its borders.

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