Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Islamic State 'living its final moments': US-backed forces

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Melinda Barton | 14 January, 2019, 05:22

"We also know that those who aren't terrorists, those who were fighting alongside of us for all this time deserve to be protected as well", Pompeo said.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on January 12 he was optimistic that a "good outcome" can be achieved that protects both Turkey and the Syrian Kurds, after speaking to the Turkish foreign minister. "They understand that there are squabbles in Washington, but their mission remains, their duties continue and they're executing them".

Pompeo said Friday that Washington recognized "the Turkish people's right and Erdogan's right to defend their country from terrorists".

Mr Kalin also said: "It is a fatal mistake to equate Syrian Kurds with the PKK, which is on the USA terrorists list, and its Syria branch PYD/YPG". And while about 2,000 American troops are now based in the civil war-torn country, that number could increase before a final pull-out, according to the New York Times. In a televised speech in December, he said Turkey's army would be ready "neutralize terrorist organizations" in upcoming months, according to the Financial Times.

Cavusoglu said Washington made a decision to withdraw its troops from Syria after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's firm stance against removing threat coming to Turkey from east of the Euphrates River in Syria.

"We have no problems with our Kurdish brothers, Arab brothers in Syria, Turkmens and other ethnic and religious groups".

"We hope we can turn the corner here", Mr Pompeo added.

Donald Trump has warned its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally to beware of the devastative wrath of USA economic pressure if Turkey dares to attack the Kurdish allies America is leaving behind in its "long overdue" pull-out of troops from Syria.

Maria Zakharova, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said it was important for Syrian Kurds and the Syrian government to start talking to each other in light of the USA withdrawal plans.

She also said the territory previously controlled by the United States should be transferred to the Syrian regime.

Ankara sees the backbone of that alliance, the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), as a terrorist group linked to the Kurdistan Workers party (PKK) which has fought a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state.

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

Mevlut Cavusoglu and Mike Pompeo discussed the latest developments in Syria, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian of France, which is part of the US-led coalition, welcomed what he believed was a slower withdrawal by the United States after pressure from its allies.

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.