US Syria withdrawal must be done with allies' defence 'assured': Bolton

Two British special forces soldiers seriously injured in missile attack by so-called Islamic State in Syria

Two British special forces soldiers seriously injured in missile attack by so-called Islamic State in Syria

White House national security adviser John Bolton clarified that the withdrawal of US forces from Syria will not be immediate, but is contingent upon the achievement of certain objectives, including assured protection for the Kurds and total defeat of ISIS.

Previously, a U.S. defense official told CNN that the United States expected Turkey to make various requests for support - including for airstrikes in Syria - but the USA would first seek assurances from Ankara that it will not attack US-backed Kurdish fighters in northern Syria.

Bolton also was to convey the message that the United States will be "very supportive" of Israeli strikes against Iranian targets in Syria, according to the official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss Bolton's plans before the meetings and spoke on condition of anonymity to preview the talks.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan warned on Monday that the USA withdrawal from Syria must be planned carefully, and with the right partners, saying Turkey was the only country "with the power and commitment to perform that task".

"Your visit has given us an opportunity to do two things", Netanyahu said.

Ankara considers the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) a wing of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has fought the Turkish state for greater Kurdish political and cultural rights since the 1980s.

Bolton is expected to meet with Turkish officials, including the country's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Tuesday.

"We have wiped out ISIS in Iraq", Trump said. Turkey hates ISIS maybe not as much as we do.

According to Meral, what the U.S. can hope to achieve at best is a short-term commitment from Turkey not to launch a new operation.

Bolton made the remarks in Jerusalem on a four-day trip to Israel and Turkey.

Bolton said the US has asked the Kurds to "stand fast now" and refrain from seeking protection from Russian Federation or Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government.




Despite a United States pledge to bring American soldiers back home quickly, major disagreements between Turkey and the USA over the alliance with the Kurdish militia will likely slow down the process.

Last month the U.S. set up observation posts along the Turkish border after Turkey shelled YPG positions.

But Turkey has long castigated Washington for its military relationship with the YPG.

The withdrawal will be contingent on assurances from Turkey that they won't slaughter the Kurds, the development of an exit strategy that prevents Iran from gaining more regional influence, defense of regional US allies, and prevention of any future resurgence of ISIS. "Turkey would not accept any USA demand to allow the YPG to freely roam the region". But Trump was concerned by a possible rebuke from Russian Federation, the leading global authority and staunch supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which mandates Israel is Syrian territory.

Asked whether a U.S. withdrawal would not take place in Syria until Turkey guaranteed the Kurdish fighters would be safe, Bolton said, "Basically, that's right".

He called on the YPG to refrain from seeking Russian or Syrian government protection. I don't know and I'm not sure he does.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said they "do not comment on special forces".

Bolton is traveling with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford and Ambassador James Jeffrey, the special representative for Syria engagement, National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis told CNN last week. "But we are decimating ISIS", Trump told reporters.

"The US finds itself in an unsustainable position, which was set to happen the moment it chose to arm the PKK's Syria offshoot", said Meral.

"For the USA, it is about Daesh and not leaving behind a vacuum and there is the elusive talk of containing Iranian reach. Ultimately Ankara too needs an exit strategy as it wants Syria to remain intact".

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