Wednesday, 20 March, 2019

Backed Syrian force: Islamic State in 'its final moments'

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Steven Clarke | 14 January, 2019, 05:23

And while about 2,000 American troops are now based in the civil war-torn country, that number could increase before a final pull-out, according to the New York Times.

Trump also threatened to "devastate Turkey economically" if the country hit the Kurds living in Syria.

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

No U.S. personnel have left Syria yet, according to a Pentagon spokesman.

US President Donald Trump tweeted that Washington is beginning its pullout of US troops from Syria.

Turkey's foreign minister and his USA counterpart spoke over the phone, Turkish diplomatic sources announced on Saturday.

After media reports suggesting the departure of USA forces had begun, the Pentagon later said no troops had yet withdrawn and stressed that the battle against ISIS was continuing as US-backed forces try to capture the group's last remaining pockets of territory in Syria. National Security Advisor John Bolton even said that U.S. forces will not leave Syria until Turkey guarantees the safety of the US-backed Kurdish militias.

Donald Trump has warned its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally to beware of the devastative wrath of United States economic pressure if Turkey dares to attack the Kurdish allies America is leaving behind in its "long overdue" pull-out of troops from Syria.

Graham says Trump isn’t giving in on southern border wall
Eight Republicans also broke rank to vote with the Democrats last week to restore funding to the Treasury Department and the IRS. The Post-ABC poll said a slight majority (54 percent) opposes construction of the wall, with 42 percent favoring it.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed Sunday that Israel had struck hundreds of Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria over the weekend, including a weapons facility, as the Israeli Defense Forces announced the discovery of a sixth and final tunnel dug by the Lebanese militant group for cross-border attacks.

Erdogan said Bolton was making a "serious mistake".

Trump's Twitter posts on Sunday were the the latest in the slow drip-drip of information being released by his administration after his shock December announcement of a troop withdrawal.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is now in the Saudi capital Riyadh as he tours the Middle East to reassure US allies in the region.

Mr Kalin also said: "It is a fatal mistake to equate Syrian Kurds with the PKK, which is on the United States terrorists list, and its Syria branch PYD/YPG".

"If they are terrorists, we will do what is necessary no matter where they came from", Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week.

Maria Zakharova, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said it was important for Syrian Kurds and the Syrian government to start talking to each other in light of the USA withdrawal plans.

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.

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