Pompeo: US will pull forces from Syria, maintain battle against ISIS


President Recep Tayyip Erdogan publicly blasted national security adviser John Bolton Tuesday for saying the United States withdrawal was contingent upon Turkey's pledge not to attack US-backed Kurdish fighters in Syria once American troops go home.

After meeting Bolton on Tuesday, Kalin also urged Washington to take back all the weapons provided to Syrian Kurdish militia forces.

US President Donald Trump caused a political storm last month when he announced the troop pullout, claiming to have succeeded in the battle against the Islamic State (IS) group.

Currently, about 2,000 USA forces are in Syria, which is in the grips of a complex civil war.

Trump declared IS (Islamic State, formerly ISIS/ISIL) defeated and the U.S. mission in Syria accomplished in December, and announced that the roughly 2,000 USA troops there would be brought home.

The vacancies are especially problematic as the Trump administration continues to send contradictory messages about its policies toward friends and foes in the region. She said recalibrating the US position in the Middle East is a priority. Either we will never withdraw from "northeastern Syria", or we will stand by and watch our anti-ISIS allies get massacred as Turkey reneges on any security pledge they make.

After Bolton's stop in Israel, he was suddenly uninvited to meet with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan - apparently a result of Bolton's demand that Turkey not attack pro-US Kurdish fighters in Syria.

A survey published by the Israel Democracy Institute Thursday found that almost two-thirds of Israelis believe the USA withdrawal from Syria will "damage Israeli security interests".

"The United States fully supports Israel's right to defend itself against the Iranian regime's aggressive adventurism", Pompeo said in his remarks at the American University in Cairo. Part of the problem for the ISIS fighters' home countries are the legal ramifications of holding citizens who were picked up on the battlefield - and how to prosecute them.

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Kalin said talks with Bolton focused on how the US would collect the weapons that were given to Kurdish militias fighting Daesh as well as the future of USA bases in Syria.He said he handed over two dossiers to Bolton, one on Turkish help to Kurdish populations in Iraq and Syria, the other on the Kurdish militias' "criminal activities and human rights violations".

Speaking from Ramallah earlier this week, a PA source said that nothing had changed on this matter. One is that the United States must "make sure ISIS is defeated and is not able to revive itself and become a threat again"-an objective that is impossible for the two thousand US troops in Syria to achieve".

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delayed an offensive against the YPG after a December 14 phone call with Trump when the U.S. president told him he would withdraw some 2,200 USA special forces and invited Turkey to take over the fight against the Islamic State.

Both Bolton and Pompeo have pushed back against reports of policy chaos and dysfunction, insisting that they are on the same page with the president and his Syria policy is consistent and coherent.

"My greatest concern probably is the Kurds and whether or not - just how defenseless we're going to leave them", Cramer said, adding later that USA support going forward would be "not insignificant".

Mike Pompeo also dismissed comparisons to the USA withdrawal from Iraq under the Obama administration in 2011, which ultimately led to the rise of ISIS.

Officials have told CNN that one way they expect to demonstrate progress in meeting Trump's wish is to start discussing percentages of military equipment that will be pulled out of Syria - even though its expected no actual troops are coming out soon.

On Monday, Erdogan published an opinion article in the New York Times saying the Turkish government has "no argument with the Syrian Kurds."He called for a "stabilization force" in Syria that would be created by Turkey".