Pompeo ‘optimistic’ Syria Kurds, Turkey can be protected

Pompeo ‘optimistic’ Syria Kurds, Turkey can be protected

Pompeo ‘optimistic’ Syria Kurds, Turkey can be protected

Over recent weeks, senior United States officials have offered confusing and contradictory accounts of the terms and speed with which the USA is leaving.

In an e-mail statement to The Associated Press on Friday, Army Col. Sean Ryan, spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, the US regional command, said the USA had begun "the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria". Perhaps the situation could change again in coming weeks. Following the announcement, he was forced to reiterate the U.S.'s commitment to its more substantial troop to neighboring Iraq, where the US -led coalition is also fighting ISIS.

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There are about 2,000 USA troops in Syria.

Bahrain, a key US ally in the Gulf, hosts the US Navy's Fifth Fleet with around 7,800 US military personnel deployed in the country, as well as a British naval base. Troops work mostly out of small camps in remote parts of the country's northeast.

Pompeo said he had spoken to Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, called the decision a "betrayal of our Kurdish partners".

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The U.S. has started "the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria", Col. Sean Ryan, a spokesman for the coalition fighting the Islamic State group, told the Associated Press without further elaboration. These include troops to provide additional security.

She added that the peace and stability of areas United States forces withdraw from "must be guaranteed", including by putting an end to the Turkish threats and fully eradicating the IS group and its sleeper cells.

"The damage is done", said Fabrice Balanche, a geographer and Syria expert. The meeting of the Turkish top brass was held on the border with Syria. They described the draw-down at the base, held by US forces for the past two years, as "slow and steady".

Turkey, however, considers the YPG a terrorist group linked to a rebellion in Turkey.

"The Americans have a right to make decisions that are in their country's security and national interests", said Ilham Ahmed, who co-chairs the US-backed Syrian Democratic Council in northeastern Syria.

"When the time and place comes, the terrorists here will also be buried in the ditches and trenches they have dug", he said.

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On Sunday, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said American troops would not leave northeastern Syria until ISIS is defeated and the American-allied Kurdish fighters are protected.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pushed back on reports the administration was contradicting itself Thursday on a trip to Cairo, Egypt, saying "there's no contradiction whatsoever".

"Let me be clear: America will not retreat until the terror fight is over", Pompeo said.

The planned withdrawal of USA forces and possible repercussions adds to the turmoil in a region embroiled in a seven-year-old civil war that has displaced millions and killed at least 400,000 through 2016, according to the most recent United Nations estimate.

With the backing of Russian Federation and Iran, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has regained much of the territory lost to rebel groups, and his forces are now pressing eastward to areas controlled by the SDF.

What is the U.S. presence in Syria? He has questioned the wisdom of continuing the 17-year war in Afghanistan and recently demanded that about half of the 14,000 USA troops there be sent home. He has, however, asserted that the USA must bring an end to the Mideast wars that began after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.

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