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Trump wants safe withdrawal of US troops from Syria - White House

Trump wants safe withdrawal of US troops from Syria - White House

The White House has sent national security adviser John Bolton on a mission to allay Israel's concerns about President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw USA troops from Syria.

A joint statement by the two Republican senators came on the same day that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged John Bolton, the USA national security adviser, to recognize Israel's claim to the Golan.

The withdrawal of US troops from Syria depends on certain conditions, US National Security Adviser John Bolton says, in a further indication that the process is being slowed down.

"We don't think the Turks ought to undertake military action that's not fully coordinated with and agreed to by the United States", Bolton told reporters in Jerusalem on Sunday.

Those doubts come as Bolton is telling reporters that US troops will only be withdrawn from Syria on two conditions: defeating the remnants of ISIS and protecting the USA -backed Kurdish fighters. Bolton's explanation of the conditions for withdrawal appeared to contradict U.S. President Donald Trump's December 19 Twitter announcement that ISIS had been defeated and that U.S. forces were "coming back now".

Those meetings will follow talks, also focusing on Syria, that Bolton is holding in Israel, where he said the USA pullout was conditional on Turkish guarantees in regard to US -backed Kurdish fighters.

"The US finds itself in an unsustainable position, which was set to happen the moment it chose to arm the PKK's Syria offshoot", said Meral.

But Trump appeared to indicate Sunday that Iran and Russian Federation, whose forces in Syria back Assad, were potential USA allies against the Islamic State.

Among the policy decisions still to be made is what to do about the tens of thousands of Syrian Kurdish fighters that U.S. forces have trained, armed, and advised to carry out the ground war against the Islamic State. A spokesman for the group, Mustafa Bali, said they included two Americans, two Pakistanis and one Irish citizen.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told US President Donald Trump that Turkey pledged to continue fighting Daesh in Syria.

"We now have the best US-Israeli relationship in our history", Bolton said during the joint press conference with Netanyahu.

Jim Jeffrey, the special representative for Syrian engagement and the newly named American special envoy for the anti-Islamic State coalition, is to travel to Syria this coming week in an effort to reassure the Kurdish fighters that they are not being abandoned, Bolton said.

But the main fighting force in the SDF is the Kurdish YPG militia, which Turkey regards as a terrorist group.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made his first public appeal for the United States to officially recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Bolton is also slated to visit Turkey.

That announcement was met with criticism from members of both parties, and was followed by two high-profile resignations: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Brett McGurk, the USA envoy to the coalition fighting the Islamic State.

Even though the agreement between the Israeli ministry of transport and the Chinese government-owned SIPG company was signed in 2015, U.S. officials only raised concerns now, indicating they were rather sparked by the ongoing trade war between the world's two biggest economies, rather than the situation in Israel.

The latest meeting comes amid rebuke over recent comments made by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in which he said that the U.S. hoped to stop Turkey from "slaughtering" Kurds in Syria. Still, some 200 USA troops will remain in the vicinity of al-Tanf, in southern Syria, to counter growing Iranian activity in the region, he said. Mr Trump also said last month that IS had been "defeated".


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