US troop pullout from Syria conditional on Turkey’s security guarantees for Kurds – Bolton

Sunday, January 6, 2019
By Paul Martin

RT.com
6 Jan, 2019

US forces will not leave Syria until Turkey guarantees the safety of US-backed Kurdish militias, National Security Advisor John Bolton has said, as cited by AP. He added that there was no timetable for a US withdrawal.

According to Bolton, US President Donald Trump told him that he would “not allow Turkey to kill the Kurds.”

“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, so they don’t endanger our troops but also so that they meet the president’s requirement that the Syrian opposition forces that have fought with us are not endangered,” he said.

Bolton also stressed there was no set timetable for US withdrawal from Syria, adding that Washington was not interested in maintaining a long-term military presence in the country.

“The timetable flows from the policy decisions that we need to implement,” he noted.

Bolton’s statements provoked a critical response from Ankara. It is “irrational” to claim that Turkey targets Kurds in its operations, the Turkish president’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said, adding that the Turkish military campaign is aimed against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) as well as against the Kurdish YPG and PKK groups, which Ankara sees as terrorists.

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