Pompeo confident of USA deal with Turkey to protect Kurds

Frederick Owens
January 14, 2019

On Saturday, more than 600 people were evacuated from the remaining IS holdout in eastern Syria, a monitor said, as US-backed fighters prepare for a final assault on the area.

"For purposes of operational security, we will not discuss specific troop movements or timelines", he added. Also, U.S. troops are among 200 to 300 coalition troops at a garrison in southern Syria known as al-Tanf, where they train and accompany local Syrian opposition forces on patrols to counter the IS group.

"We will confirm that there has been no redeployment of military personnel from Syria to date", said Navy Commander Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesman.

A US official told ABC News that in recent days military equipment has been moved out of Syria into Iraq.

Robertson, in his statement, said the coalition had carried out "logistical measures" to support a withdrawal but did not enter into details.

Akar said Turkey was determined to end terrorism wherever it may be, which never means Hamas terrorism - it's just code for killing a lot of Kurds.

Uncertainty over the timing and terms of the Syria pullout have raised questions about the Trump administration's broader strategy for fighting Islamic extremism, including Trump's stated intention to reduce US forces in Afghanistan this summer.

Turkey has carried out military exercises at the border with Syria before an expected offensive on the northern city of Manbij, now held by the United States-backed Kurdish fighters. "We don't take orders from Bolton".

"We are confident we can achieve an outcome that achieves both of those", Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told journalists in Abu Dhabi.

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Trump's decision to withdraw troops has been clouded by mixed messages from Washington since it was abruptly announced last month, catching off guard allies including the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces militia.

"We have no problems with our Kurdish brothers, Arab brothers in Syria, Turkmens and other ethnic and religious groups", the DM explained, "Our only targets are the terrorists ISIS and PKK/YPG".

President Donald Trump said the United States will "devastate Turkey economically" if the country attacks Kurdish fighters in Syria.

Earlier this week, US National Security Adviser John Bolton said American troops will not leave northeastern Syria until IS is defeated and American-allied Kurdish fighters are protected, signalling a slowdown in Trump's initial order for a rapid withdrawal.

About 2,000 United States military personnel are reported to be deployed in Syria.

The Pentagon first gave word of the start of the withdrawal late Thursday. Much of the force is made up of Kurdish fighters, who are also part of the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units or YPG, which has been linked to the PKK, a Kurdish terror group that has waged a decades-long insurgency in southeastern Turkey.

A Kurdish politician told Reuters last week the Kurds had presented Moscow with a roadmap for a deal with Damascus.

"We will very soon mobilize to eliminate the terrorist organization in Syria", Erdogan said.

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

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