Bolton says Turkey must not attack Kurdish fighters once U.S. leaves Syria

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – White House nationwide safety adviser John Bolton added a brand new situation on Sunday to the U.S. withdrawal from Syria, saying Turkey must agree to guard the United States’ Kurdish allies.

President Donald Trump’s abrupt determination to announce a U.S. pullout from Syria left many questions open, mainly whether or not Kurdish fighters who had been working in northern Syria alongside U.S. forces would now be attacked by their long-time enemy, Turkey.

Bolton, on a visit to Israel and Turkey, stated he would stress in talks with Turkish officers, together with President Tayyip Erdogan, that Kurdish forces must be protected.

Ahead of talks with Israeli officers, he informed reporters the pullout could be finished in a approach that assured the Islamic State jihadist group “is defeated and is not able to revive itself and become a threat again.”

And it might be carried out in such a approach as to “make sure that the defense of Israel and our other friends in the region is absolutely assured, and to take care of those who have fought with us against ISIS and other terrorist groups.”

Asked whether or not a U.S. withdrawal would not happen in Syria till Turkey assured the Kurdish fighters could be secure, Bolton stated: “Basically, that’s right.”

The Syrian YPG militia has been extremely efficient within the struggle towards Islamic State, part of the broader Syrian battle pitting a spread of rebel teams towards President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and generally towards one another.

But Turkey has lengthy castigated Washington for its army relationship with the YPG. Ankara regards the YPG an extension of the PKK, a Kurdish armed group that has waged an insurgency in southeast Turkey for over three many years.


“We don’t think the Turks ought to undertake military action that’s not fully coordinated with and agreed to by the United States at a minimum,” Bolton stated, “so they don’t endanger our troops, but also so that they meet the president’s requirement that the Syrian opposition forces that have fought with us are not endangered.”

White House nationwide safety adviser John Bolton (2nd R) wears digital actuality goggles throughout a go to to the Western Wall tunnel advanced in Jerusalem’s Old City January 6, 2019. REUTERS/Steve Holland

The YPG has indicated that it would search a cope with Damascus after the U.S. forces have gone.

Bolton, who will journey to Turkey on Monday, stated the United States would speak to Ankara to search out out what its targets and capabilities had been.

Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin stated Turkey’s targets had been the YPG, the PKK and Islamic State.

“One aim of Turkey’s fight against the PKK and its Syrian extensions is to rescue the Kurds from the cruelty and oppression of this terrorist group,” state-owned Anadolu information company quoted Kalin as saying, in feedback that emerged after Bolton made his remarks.

“Turkey will continue decisively its efforts to end the war, provide security, and implement the process of political transition without discriminating between our Syrian brothers on the basis of religion, ethnicity or sect,” Kalin stated.

In Washington on Sunday, Trump reiterated that the United States could be pulling its troops out of Syria however steered the transfer may not occur quickly.

White House nationwide safety adviser John Bolton visits a theatre-like construction found throughout excavation works beneath Wilson’s Arch within the Western Wall tunnels in Jerusalem’s Old City January 6, 2019. REUTERS/Steve Holland

“I never said we are doing it that quickly. But we are decimating ISIS,” Trump informed reporters.

Later on Sunday Bolton met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and reassured Israel and different allies of the United States’ dedication to their safety.

Additional reporting by Daren Butler in Istanbul and Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Kevin Liffey

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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