Syrian Kurds in Turkey call for int'l help to Ankara

Turkish US foreign ministers discuss Syria on phone

Pompeo Says The U.S. Troop Withdrawal From Syria Is Just A 'Tactical Change'

Islamic State militants are "living their final moments" in the last enclave they hold in Syria, near the Iraqi border, where the USA -backed Syrian Democratic Forces have stepped up their attacks in the last two days, an SDF official told Reuters on Sunday.

This came after Turkey vowed it "will not be intimidated" by Trump's threats of economic devastation if Ankara attacked Kurdish forces as USA troops withdraw from Syria.

Trump also commented on Twitter to the Kurds, asking them not to "provoke" Turkey.

Since then, comments by U.S. officials including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in support of protecting Kurdish fighters have provoked angry retorts from Ankara.

Last week, National Security Adviser John Bolton said the USA withdrawal would be based on conditions on the ground and would include safeguards for the SDF.

With the help of the USA -led coalition, the SDF-a group of militias led by the Kurdish YPG-has driven ISIS out of northern and eastern Syria over the past four years.

Erdogan rebuffed a proposed meeting with Bolton in Ankara on January 8, then took to live television instead to insult him for a lack of perspective.

"Seems like a long time ago but frankly it's the good work that United States did with a big coalition and we'll work with the Turks to make sure there is security for them as well and that the Kurdish people inside Syria are indeed protected". But at a "bare minimum, the U.S. Air Force would have to reinforce the current deconfliction line along the Euphrates River.and commit to keeping Turkey out of Northeast Syria".

CNN has reported that Trump's December 19 announcement that American forces would leave "now" has caused confusion and concern among USA allies in the Middle East.

"We see that the negative decoupling trend in lira that we observed last week strengthening today", an FX trader of a bank said.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, holds a joint press conference with Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, at the Sheraton Grand in Doha, Qatar, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019.

Trump also said that attacking the SDF would be against Turkey's long-term interests.

Without boots on the ground, Heras says the administration could fulfill these goals "using CIA-backed paramilitaries and private military contractors" with the same covert Title 50 authorization as the drone war.

Turkey has consistently attacked positions belonging to the YPG, most recently near the town of Kobani in northern Syria.

Trump tweeted Sunday that the US would "devastate Turkey economically if they hit" its Kurdish partners. The president also vowed that the U.S. At the same time, the Secretary of State is giving impetus to the Trump administration's intention to establish a coalition consisting of the GCC states, Egypt, and Jordan, naming it the "Middle East Strategic Alliance" (MESA). "Terrorists can't be your partners & allies", the spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, said.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to crush the Kurdish militia in the wake of Trump's decision to pull USA troops out of the region.

Anadolu added that the two leaders also discussed the need to complete a roadmap regarding Syria's border town of Manbij, so as to avoid giving any opportunity to elements seeking to block the planned withdrawal of United States forces.

The White House said in a statement that Trump and Erdogan had discussed bilateral issues, including "ongoing cooperation in Syria as US forces begin to withdraw".

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