Trump threatens to 'devastate' Turkish economy over Syrian Kurds

14 January, 2019, 09:26 | Author: Emmett Rice
  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Bahrain on Friday

On Friday, the US-led coalition said it had started the pullout, but officials later said only equipment, not troops, were going.

President Donald Trump last month announced he would withdraw U.S. forces from Syria, declaring they had succeeded in their mission to defeat IS and were no longer needed.

He added, "Likewise, do not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey". "Turkey expects the USA to honor our strategic partnership and doesn't want it to be shadowed by terrorist propaganda", he said.

The latest comments follow tensions between the USA and Turkey over the fate of Washington's Syrian Kurdish allies in the fight against Islamic State group jihadists.

"The mission in Syria is not yet complete and we must continue to work with our partners and allies to ensure that ISIS is destroyed and never returns", Graham said using another acronym for the Daesh terrorists.

Cavusoglu once again "rejected and condemned" Bolton's comments on the conditional withdrawal and said despite different voices coming out from Washington, the Turkish president's interlocutor was Trump.

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

The troops in Syria have been supporting the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces fight ISIS, but with the militant group all but defeated, the USA president made the surprise announcement of a total United States withdrawal on December 19.

Since then, US officials have given mixed messages.

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In a rare acknowledgment that French troops were also in Syria, he said they would leave when there is a political solution in the country.

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

Mr Trump's decision to withdraw the troops hinges on Turkey's cooperation to secure the northern border.

But a USA defense official has denied that it was withdrawing any troops from Syria, telling VOA the initial stages of the pull-out involve "equipment, not troops".

What has Mike Pompeo said?

Last month, Trump announced that he wanted United States troops out of Syria - a decision that resulted in the resignations of Defense Secretary James Mattis and Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter ISIS.

Turkey's president wrote in a New York Times op-ed that Trump "made the right call". "Morale is good" among diplomats, he said.

Senior US officials were shocked too, among them Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who quit in protest.

The secretary, who began his trip in Amman, Jordan, on Tuesday, is expected to visit Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait before returning to Washington.

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