Trump wants safe withdrawal of USA troops from Syria - White House

The US’s al Tanf military outpost in southern Syria Oct. 22 2018

The US’s al Tanf military outpost in southern Syria Oct. 22 2018

"Erdogan made a commitment to President Trump... that the Turks would continue the counter ISIS campaign after our departure, and that the Turks would ensure that the folks that we'd fought with - that assisted us in the counter ISIS campaign - would be protected", he said.

President Donald Trump accused The New York Times of "knowingly" writing a "very inaccurate story on my intentions on Syria" in a tweet Monday.

Responding to critics of the administration's surprise decision to withdraw USA forces from the fight against ISIS in Syria, Pompeo disclosed that the United States has now "taken down" about 99 percent of the terror group's capacity. Under Bolton's management, senior administration officials said, the National Security Council staff had "zero" role in brokering a debate over America's future in Syria.

On a trip to Israel and Turkey, he said he would seek Turkish assurances that Kurds in northern Syria would be safe.

Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, a terrorist group linked to an insurgency within its own borders. Ankara bristles at USA support for the YPG, which it has accused of ethnic cleansing and attacks on its soldiers.

Bolton, officials said, has put his energy into keeping the ear of the president. "We won", he said in a video posted on Twitter.

According to Meral, what the United States can hope to achieve at best is a short-term commitment from Turkey not to launch a new operation. "It's disrespectful to our Kurdish brothers to claim they are represented by a terror group". Trump's erratic style and habit of undermining his advisers has already driven out the secretaries of state and defense, as well as Bolton's predecessor, H.R. McMaster.

But Trump appeared to indicate Sunday that Iran and Russian Federation, whose forces in Syria back Assad, were potential US allies against the Islamic State.

"I'm expecting the buffer zone idea to come to the forefront during these meetings in Ankara".

Turkish officials have also said they want the United States to provide air and logistical support for their operations in Syria. We are going to be removing our troops.

The militia's attempt to engage with the Syria regime after years of fighting indicated a shift in strategic priorities, experts said.

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Bolton asserted Trump's broad authority to protect USA interests "anywhere around the world". "It is an effort, however late ... to create a measure of leverage on Turkey and perhaps on the Kurds as well to suggest that yes, the president wants to withdraw, but don't think we are running away". They could get slaughtered.

Israel's elections "are a factor, but not the only factor", he said.

"Being allies means fighting shoulder to shoulder, and so an ally must be reliable and coordinate with other allies", he said.

The battle left two SAS soldiers injured at the weekend but raised questions over Mr Trump's reason for withdrawing U.S. troops. But the discordant messages laid bare a national security process that, officials say, has shrunk to little more than the instincts of an impulsive president.

Islamic State has been beaten back from large areas of territory it once controlled in Syria.

Days after blasting the planned withdrawal, Graham changed his tune after a lunch with Trump, saying he felt the USA was "slowing things down in a smart way" after military commanders informed Trump that the Islamic State had not been vanquished - an assertion he called an "eye-opening" revelation for the commander in chief.

Bolton's clarification follows a backlash from USA lawmakers and other nations that the Kurds' fate was left in doubt by Trump's surprise announcement last month that he would quickly withdraw.

Though Trump ordered a rapid withdrawal of troops from Syria on December 19, no timetable was provided.

The president went on to refute reports that he had given a four-month timetable for the withdrawal, saying that it would happen over a period of time.

In December, Trump declared victory over Daesh and announced that as a result, United States forces would soon be coming home.

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