Kurdish forces must be safeguarded: Bolton

08 January, 2019, 00:11 | Author: Angel Logan
  • US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to reporters

The force, which receives key support in the air and on the ground from the U.S. military, said in a statement that the militants were captured on December 30. That group has been classified as a terrorist organization by both the US and Turkey.

White House national security adviser John Bolton said Sunday that withdrawal from Syria would occur only after US forces eradicated the Islamic State and assured protection for USA allies.

Despite backing from the US-led coalition and success in pushing back IS, Kurdish-led forces have at times incurred heavy losses.

"We don't think the Turks ought to undertake military action that's not fully coordinated with and agreed to by the United States at a minimum, so they don't endanger our troops", Bolton said on Sunday.

Turkey has already launched two cross-border operations in Syria - first in 2016 against ISIS in Azaz and al-Bab then in 2018 against the YPG in Afrin.

Trump touched off global confusion when he announced via Twitter on December 19 that he would order the withdrawal of the 2,000 troops stationed in Syria.

Ziya Meral, senior resident fellow at the British Army's Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Research, said the priorities of the United States and Turkey over northern Syria are hard to reconcile, not least because it is not clear what it is that the Trump administration actually want to see in the long term. The PKK has waged a decades-long insurgency against Turkey in which 40,000 people have died.

"For Ankara, talks with Russian Federation, thus indirectly with the Assad regime, are as important as talks with the US". We've taken back the land.

"At best, the Trump administration can achieve an orderly pullout process and prevent a short-term military intervention against YPG", Meral said.

"Since at least 2015, both Iranian military operatives and Hezbollah have attempted to set up forward military outposts to threaten and attack Israel from the Syrian side of the Golan", he cautioned. "Ultimately Ankara too needs an exit strategy as it wants Syria to remain intact". "It's not the establishment of an arbitrary point for the withdrawal to take place as President Obama did in the Afghan situation...the timetable flows from the policy decisions that we need to implement". "But we're doing it and we won't be finally pulled out until ISIS is gone".

The SDF said its forces detected "a group of terrorists who had been preparing to attack the civilians who were trying to get out of the war zone".

"Turkey's red line is the YPG, which the Americans view as allies".

The YPG has turned to the Syrian regime as a counter to the threat from Turkey in the event of a U.S. retreat. Turkey hates ISIS, maybe not as much as we do, but these are countries that hate ISIS, and they can do a little bit of the fighting in their neighborhood also because we're fighting them in their neighborhood. Turkey and "eventually Israel" would lose, Graham said.

"I'm expecting the buffer zone idea to come to the forefront during these meetings in Ankara".

"US policy has been bankrupt for many years, starting under Obama".

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