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USA withdrawal in Syria 'dictated by conditions'

USA withdrawal in Syria 'dictated by conditions'

Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, a terrorist group linked to an insurgency within its borders, and has threatened to mount an assault on the groups that have fought alongside US troops against the Islamic State in Syria.

On Sunday, White House national security adviser John Bolton added a new condition to the us withdrawal from Syria, saying Turkey must agree to protect the United States' Kurdish allies.

"We don't think the Turks ought to undertake military action that's not fully coordinated with and agreed to by the United States, at a minimum", Bolton said.

Turkey has been hoping for a quick withdrawal of US troops from Syria because an offensive against the YPG could help Erdogan consolidate nationalist voters' support for his ruling AK Party in local elections in March.

Bolton said the USA wants its Kurdish allies in Syria protected from any planned Turkish offensive - a warning to be delivered to Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

According to a Washington official, Bolton arrived in Israel to allay Israel's concerns about U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.

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Ankara regards the YPG an extension of the PKK, a Kurdish group that has waged a 34-year insurgency in Turkey. Mr Trump said: 'We have defeated Isis in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency'.

John Bolton's comments, reported by the Associated Press, contradict Trump's mid-December promise to bring troops home from Syria "now", an announcement that surprised allies and advisers, sparked an outcry from lawmakers, and prompted the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton on Sunday that Israel will never leave the Golan Heights.

Israel has maintained control over the contested region for 51 years after taking control in 1967 during the Six Day War.

A United States withdrawal could leave them exposed to an attack by neighbouring Turkey and its Syrian proxies.

It is also the clearest statement yet from any of the president's surrogates about how they plan to slow the implementation of his pullout plans.

"There is no doubt that a terror group can not be an ally of the US", Kalin said, according to the news agency.

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Pompeo offered a different emphasis in an internal briefing to State Department Syria watchers last week, sources said: We are leaving.

Trump announced plans for the withdrawal in December, saying that United States forces would pull out of the country since the Daesh* terrorist group had already been defeated there.

He said the withdrawal would take place in northeastern Syria, while some forces may remain to the south at the al-Tanf garrison as part of efforts to counter Iran's presence.

White House national security adviser John Bolton clarified that the withdrawal of USA forces from Syria will not be immediate, but is contingent upon the achievement of certain objectives, including assured protection for the Kurds and total defeat of ISIS.

In northern Syria, the Kurdish-led US -backed force known as the Syrian Democratic Forces pressed on in their fight against Islamic State militants in their last holdouts in eastern Syria.

Bolton on Sunday said the U.S. guidance to the Kurds is "stand fast now". Trump, however, also toured the area in a previous visit. Palestinians are concerned that Israelis will use the excavations to further their claim to contested parts of Jerusalem.

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"This behavior will not change the fact that East Jerusalem is occupied territory and the capital of the state of Palestine", Erekat tweeted.