Monday, 25 March, 2019

We'll devastate Turkey economically if they 'hit Kurds'

The US has an estimated 2000 troops in northern Syria The US has an estimated 2000 troops in northern Syria
Patty Aguilar | 14 January, 2019, 05:23

US President Donald Trump has threatened to "devastate Turkey economically" if it attacks Kurdish forces in Syria following a planned pullout of US troops.

The Gulf emirate is his latest stop in a regional tour aimed at reassuring allies after a Trump's shock announcement in December that USA troops would be withdrawn from Syria.

SDF, a coalition of militias led by the Kurdish YPG, have driven Islamic State from a swathe of northern and eastern Syria with the help of the USA -led coalition over the past four years.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday sought to reassure Washington's Kurdish allies in the fight against ISIS, who fear the departure of American troops would allow Turkey to attack them.

Cavusoglu said Washington chose to withdraw its troops from Syria after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's firm stance against removing threat coming to Turkey from east of the Euphrates River in Syria.

In two tweets on Sunday, Mr Trump said that he didn't want the Kurds to provoke Turkey either. "Create 20 mile safe zone...."

After media reports suggesting the departure of United States forces had begun, the Pentagon later said no troops had yet withdrawn and stressed that the battle against ISIS was continuing as US-backed forces try to capture the group's last remaining pockets of territory in Syria.

Their aim is to guard against any invasion by neighboring Turkey, which views the main Syrian Kurdish group - the YPG - as a national security threat, and to preserve autonomy in northern Syria.

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A defeat of the militants in the enclave would wipe out Islamic State's territorial foothold on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River.

The monitor said some 300 SDF combatants had deployed near the village of Sousa in preparations for a final assault.

He called the Syria pullout "long overdue" but said the U.S. would still hit "the little remaining Isis territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions". "Will attack [ISIS] again from existing nearby base if it reforms".

"Russia, Iran and Syria have been the biggest beneficiaries of the long term US policy of destroying ISIS in Syria - natural enemies", Trump continued.

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

Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said that several dozen Islamist fighters were among those evacuated to areas held by the Kurdish-Arab alliance.

Abdel Rahman said about 16,000 people, including 760 IS fighters, have fled the area since the start of December, though this marked the first time the SDF and the coalition provided buses, suggesting a deal was struck between the warring sides.

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