Erdogan and Putin to meet over United States pullout from Syria

Erdogan and Putin to meet over United States pullout from Syria

Kerry Wise
December 28, 2018

"Obviously, that should be the Syrian government, in accordance with global law", Zakharova said. "However, right now we have no information on contacts between Washington and Damascus on the issue".

US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw all 2,000 ground forces from Syria has stunned most allies, including France, but was applauded by the Turkish government.

"Americans have uttered numbers such as 30-60 days, 60-100 days".

"We have serious problems", Doug Schoen added.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday that Ankara and Washington agreed to complete withdrawal of the YPG forces from Manbij before USA pulls out of Syria.

He told AFP that the offensive would be in line with the "US withdrawal from the region".

The crushing response of the IDF is very important following President Trump's announcement of the USA withdrawal from Syria: the IDF explicitly stated that with and without an American presence, it would not hesitate to attack Iranian targets in Syria, and with significant force.

A spokesman for Turkey-backed Syrian opposition fighters said that his fighters would not accept the return of government forces to areas in eastern Syria, including Manbij town, after United States forces withdraw.

"Eradicating ISIS can only happen through a comprehensive strategy that even the current global anti-ISIS coalition - which is limited to military action without adequate attention to the needed socioeconomic and political aspects of fighting ISIS - does not possess", she added.

Russia's Nezavisimaya Gazeta said that Israel is preparing for a comprehensive war on Syria following the US' withdrawal from the country. Cavusoglu hit out at French "support" of the YPG, which he said was "no secret" as he slammed French officials' meetings with leaders of the SDF's political wing last week.

Already, SDF officials have met with Russian representatives in Moscow. The so-called Syrian Democratic Forces are dominated by the PYD/YPG, which is nothing but an extension of the terrorist PKK.

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FILE - Syrian army soldiers stand at a check-point near village of Qum el Mayadine, Syria, Aug. 14, 2018. The PKK has been fighting a long insurgency for more Kurdish autonomy in Turkey.

On November 29, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara would pay either in ruble or lira for the S-400 missile systems.

Jarabulus and Al-Bab were areas captured from IS during Ankara's first military operation in August 2016 which lasted until March past year. Turkey's Anadolu Agency (AA) had reported Tuesday that forces loyal to Syria's Bashar Assad on Tuesday entered the country's northwestern Manbij region in coordination with the YPG.

"The battle will begin soon", said the spokesman of the National army, Jussef Hamud.

Between August 2016 and March 2017, Turkish troops supported Syrian opposition fighters capture territory from ISIS in northern Syria.

U.S. forces are still patrolling Manbij.

FILE - Turkish and USA troops conduct joint patrols around the Syrian town of Manbij, as part of an agreement that aimed to ease tensions between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, November 1, 2018. "What we can observe now at the Front, is the reinforcement of all forces to full readiness for the battle", said Hamud.

Fearing the US announcement could open the way to the Turkish attack, the SDF has been warning of the threat Islamic State still poses. Critics say thousands of IS members are still in Syria and could pose a threat with some analysts concerned the withdrawal could lead to a resurgence of IS.

President Trump late Sunday signaled it will be Turkey, and not the Kurdish and Arab SDF fighters, that will finish the job against IS.

The decision prompted the resignation of both his Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and envoy for the global coalition to defeat IS, Brett McGurk. In his resignation letter, Mattis criticized Trump for failing to value America's closest allies who had fought alongside the U.S. always.

Trump has said the withdrawal from Syria will be slow and coordinated with Turkey, without providing a timetable.