Turkey Boosts Military Presence In Syria As Erdogan, Trump Discuss US Pullout

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  AFP

Erdogan has said Ankara will postpone a planned military operation against the YPG east of the Euphrates river in northern Syria following the USA decision to pull out.

FILE - French Defense Minister Florence Parly speaks next to then-US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis during a press conference after their meeting at the French Defense ministry in Paris, Oct. 2, 2018.

He said they discussed their countries' involvement in Syria, the Islamic State militant group, and the pullout of USA troops from the area. A day earlier, Erdogan had announced that he would postpone a military operation against the Kurdish YPG forces.

"It's the most important thing for a head of state and head of the military", he said.

US President Donald Trump says the withdrawal of US troops from Syria will be "slow and highly coordinated".

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. Part of the military equipment and personnel are to be positioned in posts along the border while some had crossed into Syria via the district of Elbeyli, DHA said.

On Saturday, it emerged Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter IS, has also resigned in protest. Turkey already has troops in northwestern Syria and has backed Syrian fighters there to clear towns and villages of IS militants and Kurdish fighters. If IS hits the U.S., Trump tweeted, "they are doomed!"

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Some 2,000 United States troops have helped rid much of Syria's north-east of the jihadist group, but pockets of fighters remain. A recent U.S. report said there were still as many as 14,000 IS militants in Syria and even more in neighbouring Iraq.

Since Trump's decision, other analysts have echoed their warning. "An operation by Turkey in this area has risks and extending throughout the Syria would definitely bring Russia, Iran and Turkey face to face", Orhan added.

But President Trump, who has long favored a US withdrawal from the Middle East, has received praise from some quarters.

A deal reached in June according to which USA and Turkish troops would patrol the area around the Syrian town of Manbij allayed some of Turkey's fears, but Ankara says the U.S. and the Kurdish militia failed to live up to their end of the deal and that it will launch an offensive against it. Turkey already has troops in north-western Syria and has backed Syrian fighters there clearing towns and villages of Isis militants and Kurdish fighters.

In fact, the withdrawal of the USA military from Syria began even as Trump was delivering his "victory" speech.

"Our troops are coming home!"


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