Friday, 22 November, 2019

Mattis, McGurk exits leave Syria in "state of uncertainty"

The US president welcomed his Turkish counterpart to the White House in 2017 Image The US president welcomed his Turkish counterpart to the White House in 2017
Patty Aguilar | 24 December, 2018, 14:01

The proposal also targets cyber espionage and other activity and potentially nuclear proliferation, the official said.

Plans for the troop pullout will now be overseen by Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, who Mr Trump announced on Sunday would replace Mr Mattis starting January 1. Time for others to finally fight. "It's the most important thing for a head of state and head of the military", he added. The United States will keep up air strikes in Syria so long as troops remain, Pentagon spokeswoman Commander Rebecca Rebarich said, but it was unclear what would happen afterward. U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned in protest midweek after he and other U.S. military and national security staff failed to persuade the U.S. leader to reverse his decision.

Trump's unexpected decision last week to withdraw the 2,000 American forces fighting in Syria has drawn substantial criticism from European allies as well as Republican and Democratic politicians in Washington.

President Donald Trump makes a statement on the possible government shutdown before signing criminal just reform legislation in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018, in Washington. "After many years they are coming home", Trump tweeted. "I call on everyone. not to forget what we owe them", Macron said.

Barak Ravid of Israel's Channel 10 News has claimed in an article on Axios news website on December 20 that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected "an unofficial proposal for a deal between the US and Russian Federation on Syria and Iran meant to start a wider dialogue between Washington and Moscow to improve relations".

McGurk, who was slated to leave his post in February 2019, objected to Trump's decision to withdraw United States troops from Syria, a person familiar with the matter said, and added that Mattis' departure had a "significant impact" on McGurk's resignation.

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In October, the Kurds halted the offensive after Turkey bombarded Kurdish positions near Kobani, a town on the Turkish-Syrian border, where some of the Kurds' IS prisoners are being detained.

"[The] Islamic State has not been wiped from the map nor have its roots". "The scenario of a halt in the anti-terrorist battle is tied to Turkish threats", he told AFP.

U.S. lawmakers have expressed concerns about the fate of USA partners left in Syria, especially Kurdish fighters who battled against Islamic State extremists at the behest of Washington, as well as a potential vacuum after the forces depart.

Meanwhile, the French president paid tribute to Gen Mattis, calling him a "reliable partner". "The SDF is fighting against the terrorism that fomented attacks against Paris and elsewhere ..."

McGurk was briefly considered for the post of ambassador to Iraq after having served as a senior official covering Iraq and Afghanistan during President George W. Bush's administration. Under political presssure and threat of criminal indictment, Trump clearly wanted a "mission accomplished" moment when he claimed the U.S. has defeated Daesh although its fighters have found refuge in remote desert areas and continue to mount attacks on Syrian and Iraqi forces and civilians. "We were originally going to be there for three months, and that was seven years ago - we never left", Trump tweeted. We've taken back the land. "I couldn't say this before... that Israel is a major reason for the decline of the Islamic State".

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