Erdogan: Turkey to keep pushing Kurds out of Syria's north

Erdogan: Turkey to keep pushing Kurds out of Syria's north

With allies anxious about a hasty US withdrawal, the Trump administration said it would stay in war-torn Syria to finish off the job of defeating the Islamic State group and was committed to eliminating the militants' "small" presence that "our forces have not already eradicated".

President Trump surprised many of his military commanders this week when he abruptly said that he wanted to withdraw US troops from Syria, claiming the Islamic State was largely defeated.

On the issue of Turkish troops - which last month took control of the northwestern enclave of Afrin - Erdogan said they would move eastward into Manbij and other areas controlled by the US -backed Peoples' Protection Units, or YPG, which Turkey considers to be terrorists.

The announcement comes less than 24 hours after Trump said he wants to bring troops home.

. "The United States and our partners remain committed to eliminating the small ISIS presence in Syria that our forces have not already eradicated", appearing to commit the U.S.to Syria for the foreseeable future.

In the absence of the USA military, "We expect countries in the region and beyond, plus the United Nations, to work toward peace and ensure that ISIS never re-emerges", it continued.

Speaking at a joint news conference, Erdogan said Turkish troops, which last month took control of the northwestern Kurdish enclave of Afrin, would move eastward into Manbij and other areas controlled by the USA -backed militia, the Peoples' Protection Units, or YPG, which Turkey considers to be terrorists. "We've nearly completed that task", he said.

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The White House made the announcement on Wednesday in a statement after a meeting between Trump and his national security team to discuss Syria.

Iran deadline nears Pentagon official resigns after CNN unearths old conspiracy theory posts The Iran deal will survive - for now MORE told the president that the battle to oust ISIS from the region was nearly complete, but withdrawing USA forces now would possibly allow an ISIS resurgence, according to NBC.

And Brett McGurk, the USA envoy to the coalition against IS, stressed the fight against the jihadists was not over.

Trump said during a speech in OH last week that USA troops would be leaving Syria "soon".

USA troop levels in Syria now sit at around 2,000. "Let the other people take care of it now".

Trump recently fired Rex Tillerson as secretary of state and axed HR McMaster as national security adviser, replacing him with hardline Fox News pundit and former United Nations ambassador John Bolton.

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Many of the Syrian Kurdish fighters have left their US -backed units in the southeast to head to Afrin in northwest Syria, where their compatriots are fighting against Turkey and its proxy, the rebel Free Syrian Army.

Sanders added, however,"We will continue to consult with our allies and friends regarding future plans".

The Turkish, Russian and Iranian presidents "vowed their joint resolve to speed up efforts to ensure calm on the ground and protect civilians in the de-escalation areas, as well as to facilitate rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to these areas", the statement said.

In this March 29, 2018 file photo, a fighter, second from right, of the US-backed Syrian Manbij Military Council is parked next to U.S. humvee at a United States troop outpost on a road leading to the tense front line between Syrian Manbij Military Council fighters and Turkish-backed fighters, at Halawanji village, north of Manbij town, Syria. While the group has been forced out of almost 95% of the territory they once controlled, the remaining fighters could be hard to deal with, military officials have warned. The White House then froze $200 million in US assistance earmarked for Syria recovery efforts.

The following day, Mr. Trump directed the State Department to halt financial recovery assistance for Syria while his administration reconsidered its policy.

And Iran would be free to extend its role to the Iraqi border, creating a continuous zone of influence between Teheran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah, which has also deployed to Syria.

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