No quick withdrawal: US tries to restore order to Syria policy


According to the Associated Press, Trump national security adviser John Bolton told reporters Sunday that there are two conditions for a military withdrawal of the 2,000 US troops from Syria: defeating the remnants of ISIS and protecting the Kurdish fighters who have fought the terrorist group alongside the U.S.

In a Sunday news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Bolton said that "the defense of Israel and other friends in the region is absolutely assured" and that the United States would "take care of those who have fought with us against ISIS and other terrorist groups".

U.S. President Donald Trump's national security adviser John Bolton speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 27, 2018.

However, with the US decision to withdraw from Syria, Erdoğan said Turkey would postpone the operation until the withdrawal of USA troops is completed.

Trump announced in mid-December that the USA will withdraw all of its 2,000 forces in Syria.

Bolton's comments come amid reports that Trump had agreed to extend his initial 30-day deadline for withdrawal to four months.

The announcement, which took officials in Washington and allies overseas by surprise, contributed to Jim Mattis' decision to resign as USA defense secretary and prompted concern that Islamic State could stage a comeback. "I never said we're doing it that quickly".

Two British special forces soldiers have been seriously injured after being hit by a missile in an attack by Isis in Syria.

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Critics say the move puts US-allied Kurdish forces at risk of attack by Turkish troops.

A local fighter, a Kurd from the YPG militia which dominates the Syrian Democratic Forces, was killed when a counter-attacking Isis unit fired what local commanders said was a heat-seeking missile at the group on Saturday morning.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, the incoming chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told ABC's "This Week" that the conditions raised by Bolton were "obvious", and Smith criticized the conflicting messages from the Trump administration.

Over the intervening years the number of USA troops in Syria has increased, and a network of bases and airfields has been established in an arc across the north-eastern part of the country.

Mr Bolton, who will travel to Turkey on Monday, said the USA would talk to Turkey to find out what its objectives and capabilities were.

"There is no doubt that a terror group can not be an ally of the U.S.", Kalin said. He defended the legal basis for the deployment, saying it's justified by the president's Constitutional authority, adding "I'm a strong believer in Article II".

Mr Trump also said at the time that IS had been "defeated".

A line of United States military vehicles drive through a checkpoint of the Internal Security Forces in Manbij as they head to their base on the outskirts of the northern Syrian city, on December 30, 2018. Israel captured the Old City from Jordan in the 1967 war.