Wednesday, 20 March, 2019

US, Turkey set for negotiations on fate of Kurds

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to reporters US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to reporters
Andrew Cummings | 08 January, 2019, 02:49

Bolton, on a visit to Israel Sunday, said U.S. troops will not leave northeastern Syria until IS militants are defeated and American-allied Kurdish fighters are protected.

Bolton's remarks and Turkey's response mark the latest chapter in the White House's decision to withdraw its troops from Syria - a move that culminated in the resignations of Defense Secretary James Mattis and Brett McGurk, the top presidential envoy in the fight against ISIS.

Addressing reporters at the White House, the president said: "We are pulling back in Syria".

Despite the announcement, the war against ISIS in Syria has continued, with US-backed forces recapturing ISIS-held towns and the US-led coalition conducting 469 air and artillery strikes on ISIS targets between December 16 and December 29, the coalition said.

The talks are likely to be contentious, as Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, a terrorist group linked to an insurgency within its borders, and has threatened to mount a campaign against the groups.

Bolton warned Turkey against taking any military action in Syria without consent from the USA, ahead of his planned trip to the country Monday.

According to the official, the guarantees include giving assurance to avoid military action in Syria unless fully coordinated with Washington.

Bolton is in Israel to reassure the American ally about the planned withdrawal of USA troops from Syria, which Israel fears could allow a resurgence of the Islamic State there. "But we are decimating ISIS", Trump told reporters, using a different acronym for IS.

The withdrawal from Syria looks less imminent and more aspirational with every frequent-flier mile John Bolton picks up.

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One Israeli intelligence source told Fox News there is a "good chance" the US will heed the request, as quite simply "they live there, they recognize it as Israeli", and it's just a matter of the United States also making that formal recognition. "Moreover, unlike the issue of Jerusalem, the Golan wouldn't be part of any future Israel-Palestinian peace agreement, making US recognition of Israeli sovereignty much more straightforward than any issue involving Jerusalem or other territories like the West Bank".

Israel annexed east Jerusalem after capturing it from Jordan in the 1967 war, a move not recognized by most of the worldwide community.

John Bolton added that Turkey needed to assure the safety of Kurdish fighters allied with the United States in the area.

Bolton said the US has asked the Kurds to "stand fast now" and allow the U.S.to continue negotiations.

He said the withdrawal would take place in northeastern Syria, while some forces could remain to the south at the al-Tanf garrison as part of efforts to counter Iran's presence. We won, " Trump said.

The U.S. withdrawal from Syrian might not be as precipitous as it was originally described by President Trump.

"Our position is clear - we continue to act against the Iranian military buildup in Syria, including in these days, and we are acting against anyone who undermines or tries to undermine Israel's security", Netanyahu said.

Turkey's presidential spokesman called allegations that his country planned to attack the USA -allied Kurds in Syria "irrational" and said Turkey was fighting terrorism for national security.

"Tomorrow, if whether permits, we will go up to the Golan Heights, it is tremendously important for our security".

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