Backed Syrian force says Islamic State in its ‘final moments’

14 January, 2019, 09:22 | Author: Carlos George
  • Turkish US foreign ministers discuss Syria on phone

Trump also threatened to "devastate Turkey economically" if the country hit the Kurds living in Syria. Turkey views some Kurdish groups in the region as terrorist organizations and Kurds make up the majority of US-allied fighters operating in Syria in the civil war against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Bolton said last Sunday that the Trump administration would delay pulling American troops from Syria until Turkey assures the US that Kurdish forces won't be touched.

The president also warned the Kurds not to antagonize Turkey in a continuation of his tweet.

His declaration of victory against ISIS was far from unanimous, and officials said USA defense and military leaders were trying to dissuade him from ordering the withdrawal right up until the last minute.

Turkey, however, remains firmly committed to removing what they call a Kurdish "terrorist" threat coming from the Euphrates River valley, and is actively preparing for a possible cross-border operation. Without giving any further details, he wrote "Create 20 mile (32 kilometers) safe zone".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is defending President Trump's decision to remove US troops from Syria.

The Gulf emirate is his latest stop in a regional tour aimed at reassuring allies after a Trump's shock announcement in December that U.S. troops would be withdrawn from Syria. "Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms", the President tweeted on Sunday.

But, he added, "we also know that those are fighting alongside of us for all this time deserve to be protected as well".

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The US support for Kurdish militants, who have been fighting Daesh* in Syria, has been a major sticking point in relations between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

"There is no difference between DAESH [Islamic State], PKK, PYD and YPG".

Senior US officials were shocked too, among them Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who quit in protest.

Islamic State militants are "living their final moments" in the last enclave they hold near the Iraqi border, where US -backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are attacking them, an SDF official said on Sunday.

Ankara sees the YPG as a terrorist group linked to the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) which has fought a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state.

"We will protect Kurds and other Syrians against all terrorist threats".

The United Nations said on Friday that overall about 25,000 people have fled the violence over the last six months as the die-hard militants have battled to defend their dwindling bastions.

Around 2,000 civilians remain trapped in the area around the town of Hajin.

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