Netanyahu attempts to calm fears over US-Syria exit

On Monday the Turkish president renewed threats to target Kurdish fighters

In the past two years Turkey has conducted two offensives into northern Syria. Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) within that alliance have always been viewed by Erdogan as a "terrorist offshoot" of long-standing Kurdish insurgency inside Turkey.

Netanyahu spoke twice to Trump last week about the surprise pullout, but next week's sitdown will be the first high-level meeting between US officials and Israeli since Trump announced the move, Ravid reported.

Trump's "Defense" secretary, "Mad Dog" general James Mattis, also known as a "Chihauhua" if he were literally a "dog", resigned in a huff of opposition, too.

Trump received criticism from Republican and Democratic lawmakers, former government leaders, and worldwide allies for what they have perceived as a premature withdrawal of USA forces from Syria, where troops have been since 2015 assisting a Syrian Arab and Kurdish alliance fighting against IS.

The Turkish buildup comes even though Turkey said it would delay a promised offensive in eastern Syria in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw his country's troops earlier this week.

The Pentagon has said the order for the withdrawal of USA troops from Syria has been signed following President Donald Trump's December 19 announcement setting out plans for a full pullout, US media are reporting.

"Our troops are coming home!" According to Erdogan, the two officials pledged to "expand coordination" on Syria.

With the USA army gone from Syria, it is expected that President Erdoğan will launch an offensive against the Kurdish autonomous region in Northern Syria, which it considers allies of the Kurdistan Workers' Party.

Turkey's presidential office says the 2 leaders agreed to work closely to prevent a power vacuum from developing as United States forces withdraw.

U.S. politicians - including those from his own Republican party - and global allies fear the withdrawal of the roughly 2,000 United States troops is premature and would further destabilize the already devastated region.

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Trump described their talk as long and productive.

It says they are a national security concern as they want to create a sovereign state along Turkey's southern border, and accuses them of seeking to extend the PKK insurgency.

At Sunday's cabinet meeting, Netanyahu reiterated that Israel will continue to act against Iran's efforts in Syria and that cooperation with the US will continue in many areas. Last Wednesday, after news of the White House's decision broke, Macron reportedly spoke to to Trump directly, but was apparently unable to sway his decision.

The SDF is dominated by Syrian Kurds, but it also includes Arab forces. I already said that we achieved significant progress in the fight against terrorism in that territory and delivered major strikes on ISIS* in Syria.

On Sunday, U.S. troops based around Manbij patrolled the town and surrounding area and were photographed speaking with the residents.

Turkey has long criticized the US for training and arming the YPG, which it says is linked to domestic terrorists it has fought for more than three decades.

The convoys are crossing into an area controlled by the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA), a Turkish ally, and heading to the front lines of Manbij, TRT World said. In that campaign, Turkey took over Jarablus as well as areas surrounding it. Jarablus is some 30 kilometers (19 miles) away from Manbij.

Netanyahu told ministers from his Likud party that he plans to discuss the American withdrawal with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when the two travel to Brazil for the inauguration of President-elect Jair Bolsonoro next week, Channel 10 news reported.

Relations between Turkey and the U.S. have improved since a bitter row in the summer over the detention of an American pastor who was subsequently released in October.

Phone calls to the U.S. Department of Defense and the Central Command seeking comment outside of normal business hours went unanswered.



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