Turkey Hails Pompeo Comments Over Defense Against 'Terrorists'

14 January, 2019, 09:25 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • The US has an estimated 2000 troops in northern Syria

Trump's tweets marked the first public threat toward Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, over the Kurds and seemed to offer a blanket of protection for the group, a band of US-backed militias that the Turkish government sees as terrorists.

"We recognize the Turkish people's right to defend their country from terrorists, but we also know that those. who are not terrorists and fighting alongside us for all this time deserve to be protected", Pompeo told reporters.

The latest comments follow tensions between the USA and Turkey over the fate of Washington's Syrian Kurdish allies in the fight against Islamic State group jihadists.

Asked about SDF progress, the spokesman for the US -led coalition, Colonel Sean Ryan, said: "The SDF is making great progress and continues to liberate more territory once held by ISIS (Islamic State), but the fight continues".

Colonel Sean Ryan, the coalition spokesman, said: "The SDF is making great progress and continues to liberate more territory once held by ISIS (Islamic State), but the fight continues".

President Donald Trump said the United States will "devastate Turkey economically" if the country attacks Kurdish fighters in Syria.

"We find correct his statement about the removal of the elements that concern Turkey", Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a speech in the southern Turkish province of Antalya.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday sought to reassure Washington's Kurdish allies in the fight against ISIS, who fear the departure of American troops would allow Turkey to attack them. National Security Advisor John Bolton even said that United States forces will not leave Syria until Turkey guarantees the safety of the US-backed Kurdish militias.

The US-led coalition on Saturday fired more than 20 missiles against Islamist positions, the Observatory said.

"In this regard, establishing dialogue between the Kurds and Damascus takes on particular significance".

It considers the YPG and its political wing, the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), to be "terrorist groups" with ties to the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Turkey. "After all, the Kurds are an integral part of Syrian society", Zakharova said. The U.S. provided military training and supplied truckloads of weapons to the YPG, disregarding warnings from Ankara that the YPG is organically linked to the PKK, and partnering with one terrorist group to fight another was not acceptable.

"President Macron spoke to him (Trump) several times and it seems that there has been a change that I think is positive", he said in a television interview on Thursday.

More than 2,000 US troops are serving in Syria.

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