Top U.S. diplomat sees ‘way forward’ for Turkey and Syrian Kurds

Top U.S. diplomat sees ‘way forward’ for Turkey and Syrian Kurds – Ahval

The United States and Turkey appear to have hit on a plan to ensure Syria’s Kurds are protected after the withdrawal of U.S. troops, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News, without revealing any further detail.

“The President was very clear about his expectation with how the Kurds will need to be treated after the time that the U.S. military personnel depart,” Pompeo said in an interview on Wednesday. “We understand the work that they did alongside of us. It was enormously important and good work, and we’re going to ensure that the Kurds have a proper place in Syria after our departure.”

U.S. President Donald Trump announced last month that the United States planned to pull its remaining 2,000 troops from northern Syria, as long as Ankara agreed to continue the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) and not attack local Kurds.

Turkey views the mainly Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), a key U.S. ally against the Islamic State (ISIS), as a group linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has fought an insurgency in Turkey since 1984. Pompeo, who spoke with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Monday, was asked if Ankara would abide by Trump’s expectation regarding the Kurds.

“I’ve had lots of conversations,” he said. “I think we have a way forward.”

When asked about the two ISIS attacks on U.S. forces in northern Syria in the past 10 days, the Secretary of State suggested U.S. forces might be in Syria for some time.

“In Syria, President Trump has made a tactical decision,” Pompeo said. “We’re going to withdraw our 2,000 uniformed military personnel from that country, but make no mistake about it: the defeat of the caliphate, the ISIS caliphate in Syria, is almost complete. We’re going to stay there till it’s done.”

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