Netanyahu attempts to calm fears over US-Syria exit

Netanyahu attempts to calm fears over US-Syria exit

Kerry Wise
December 25, 2018

In a phone call with President Donald Trump on December 14, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed both to hold off on a threatened attack on the YPG and to finish the fight against the Islamic State, also known as by its Arabic acronym DAESH, in Syria.

The buildup comes despite Ankara saying it would delay a promised offensive in eastern Syria in the wake of Donald Trump's surprise announcement on Wednesday to withdraw United States troops from the country, which it welcomed.

Trump also did not discuss in advance his decision to pull troops out of Syria with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, the senior official said.

"We have asked our partners to take greater responsibility for securing their home region, including contributing large amounts of money for the resources, equipment, and all of the anti-[IS] effort", Trump said in April after ordering military strikes against Syrian government targets.

"During a conversation I had with Mr. Trump - he said 'ISIS, can you clear ISIS from this area?'" Erdogan recalled.

Turkey ensured the security in the Jarabulus city of northern Syria and Afrin, northwestern Syrian city, the president said.

Macron showered praise on U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, who quit in the wake of Trump's unexpected move.

Hours earlier, Trump had tweeted that he and Erdogan 'discussed (IS), our mutual involvement in Syria, & the slow & highly coordinated pullout of United States troops from the area'.

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U.S. troops will leave under the auspices of a new Pentagon chief set to start next month, after Jim Mattis resigned from the post citing key differences, including on Syria, with the often-impulsive Trump.

"An ally must be reliable, to coordinate with its other allies", Macron said.

23 Dec Turkey has started to strengthen its positions near the border with Syria in connection with USA plans to withdraw from the conflict zone its forces.

He said the USA -led coalition provided airstrikes in support of the Kurdish fighters, who control only 35 percent of the region.

The Kurdish militia, who played a leading role in fighting the Islamic State (IS) fear it could help the extremist group to regain a foothold, according to Duetche Welle, which cited the group's media director Mustafa Bali. In recent weeks Turkey had said the US was dragging its feet in implementing the deal and had vowed to launch a new offensive against the Kurds.

Turkey will not leave Syrian Kurds at the mercy of the terrorist PKK/PYD, as it didn't leave the Arabs to the hands of the Daesh terror group, he said.

Hammoud said they are now preparing to take on Manbij, adding that deploying to areas to the south will come later.