Erdogan: US must plan pullout from Syria carefully

08 January, 2019, 06:30 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • British special forces soldiers seriously hurt by IS missile

Mr Bolton, who is in Israel to reassure the United States ally of the Trump-ordered withdrawal, says there is no timetable for the pull-out of American forces in north-eastern Syria, but insists it is not an unlimited commitment.

Trump, speaking to journalists before departing the White House for Camp David on Sunday, denied there was any walk-back of his December announcement.

Previously, a USA defense official told CNN that the United States expected Turkey to make various requests for support - including for airstrikes in Syria - but the U.S. would first seek assurances from Ankara that it will not attack US-backed Kurdish fighters in northern Syria. "We won", Trump said.

Turkey's aim is to rid Syria of terrorist groups and "rescue Kurds from the tyranny and oppression of this terror group and to ensure their safety of life and property", he said.

"When you're there, you'll be able to understand perfectly why we'll never leave the Golan Heights and why it's important that all countries recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights", said Netanyahu at a joint press conference with Bolton. Their governments have said they are not willing to take them back.

The Kurds enjoy strongholds in northeastern Syria and southern Turkey and have been integral to United States ground-fighting efforts in Syria. Turkey has repeatedly vowed to capture Manbij and to extend its offensive against the Kurds eastwards, but United States troops were a major obstacle.

If Trump did not repudiate his adviser, the daylight between their words captured the tricky path that Bolton, 70, a former official in the George W. Bush administration who long occupied the hawkish fringe of the Republican Party, has walked since entering the White House in April.

Bolton said the withdrawal from Syria would not involve setting a target date, as he said Barack Obama did in Afghanistan. Want to guess which way our Kurdish allies are betting?

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Trump Defends Decision to Withdraw Troops From Syria
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump's withdrawal plans and if there were any official changes to them.

His comments mark the first public confirmation the withdrawal has been slowed, as President Trump faced widespread criticism from allies and the resignation of Defence Secretary Jim Mattis for a policy that was to have been conducted within weeks.

Republicans, too, have anxious about whether the president is listening to his advisers, warning him that the administration's actions in Syria will affect the United States' reputation globally.

Asked Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation" whether Bolton's comments were an admission that Trump had "made a mistake", Sen. He has a goal of reducing our presence. "Let's just do it smartly".

"We are pulling out of Syria but we are doing it and we will not be finally pulled out until ISIS is gone", he added.

Similar questions arose last week, after Trump offered a perplexing take on world history, incorrectly claiming that the Soviet Union's 1979 invasion of Afghanistan was to combat terrorists infiltrating into Soviet territory, and that the invasion - and the 10-year war that followed - were the cause of the Soviet Union's 1991 collapse.

Later on Sunday Bolton met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and reassured Israel and other allies of the United States' commitment to their security.

"The fact that he makes a decision that might be different than his advisers doesn't mean that he's getting bad information", Mulvaney told CNN.

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