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Turkey-backed Syrian fighters prepare to replace U.S. forces

27 December, 2018, 00:22 | Author: Ted Wilson
  • Erdogan,Trump,IS

"I made it clear from the beginning that our mission in Syria was to strip ISIS of its military strongholds", Mr. Trump told USA troops.

The heightened military activity comes two days after President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would postpone a planned military operation on Kurdish YPG militia east of the Euphrates river in northern Syria following the US decision to pull out.

Fifteen years after the 2003 invasion, the U.S. still has more than 5,000 troops in Iraq supporting the government as it continues the fight against remaining pockets of resistance by the Islamic State (IS) group.

This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies.

The invitation follows Trump's sudden decision last week during a phone conversation between the Turkish and US leaders to withdraw all 2,000 American troops from Syria.

The stakes are especially urgent for Syria's Kurds, who make up the bulk of the population in the northeast, along the Turkish border, and have been the closest USA allies.

The withdrawal may also leave exposed an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militants known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, which has been among the most effective against Islamic State, but is now seen under threat as Turkey weighs a new offensive in Syria.

United States troops and Syrian Democratic Forces are seen during a patrol in Hasakah, Syria.

Trump's decision to withdraw sparked the resignations of Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisMissiles strike in Damascus after monthlong pause National security after Mattis should alarm Americans of all political parties Mattis works from Pentagon on Christmas, tells troops: "You hold the line" MORE and special envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition, Brett McGurk.

Speaking on a visit to French troops in Chad, Mr Macron said: "To be allies is to fight shoulder to shoulder".

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The minister also said Ankara and Washington have agreed to complete a roadmap on Manbij until the USA withdraws.

If it works with the Kurds, the government could split the U.S. vacuum with Turkey and recover more of Syria, including the former IS stronghold of Raqa and several oil fields.

"It is crucial that the USA doesn't appear as not having kept its promises", Cavusoglu said.

Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told reporters on Monday that a United States military delegation would arrive this week to "discuss how to coordinate (the withdrawal) with their counterparts".

Kalin said there will be no "step back, weakness, halting or a slowing down" of the fight against the Islamic State.

In June, Ankara and Washington reached an agreement that would see the YPG ousted from the town, but Turkey has repeatedly blamed the United States for what it says has been a delay in that deal. Turkey has criticized the US for helping the Kurds shore up control of this region and has indicated it could invade as soon as USA forces are out.

Kurdish forces in Manbij "have taken measures to fend off any attack", said the spokesman for the Kurdish-led Manbij Military Council, Sharfan Darwish.

Ahmed, the senior Syrian Kurdish official, had just returned from a trip to France in which she called on Paris to play a larger role in Syria following the USA withdrawal.

Russian Federation is said by the article to have told Erdogan he can't invade the Syrian Kurdish northeast, and that he will just have to be satisfied with an SAA buffer with the Kurds.

The attacks also eliminated "several hundred" ISIS fighters. "I call on him to return the favor".

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