Published: Mon, December 24, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Trump talks to Turkey leader about 'slow' Syria troop withdrawal

Trump talks to Turkey leader about 'slow' Syria troop withdrawal

U.S. President Donald Trump will not change his mind on withdrawing American troops from Syria, his acting chief of staff said Sunday.

However despite the heated rhetoric, experts point to strong economic ties and robust trade between the two countries.

Youssef Hammoud accused the Kurdish militia of reaching out to the Syrian government to replace United States troops if they withdraw.

Trump's announcement was therefore a blow.

But on Wednesday Trump said he was ordering a withdrawal of the estimated 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria because IS had been defeated, an assessment rubbished by many.

"We discussed ISIS (IS), our mutual involvement in Syria, and the slow and highly coordinated pullout of USA troops from the area", said Trump on his Twitter account, describing the phone conversation as "long and productive". "We have our concerns about Syria, about the threat of Iranian troops in Syria, and we will do whatever is necessary to protect our people, regardless if you have American troops, Russian troops, or any other nation".

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks on Saturday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday vowed to drive both the YPG and IS from Syria. It also posted photos of military vehicles said to be arriving in the area.

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The conversation between the two leaders came amid activity at the Turkish-Syrian border, with Ankara sending reinforcements to the region. "We are taking necessary measures to defend ourselves if we are attacked", he said.

The US president also said he discussed "the slow & highly coordinated pullout of US troops from the area" during the call.

Turkey however welcomed the Trump's decision. Ankara says the militia is a terrorist organization and an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged an insurgency in Turkey since the 1980s.

France President Macron has slammed a decision by the USA to pull its troops out of Syria.

McGurk's resignation follows that of James Mattis, Trump's defense secretary who pointed to differences with the President over the treatment of allies.

Sputnik characteristically attributed the report to other media sources citing a London-based publication: " Russia made an effort to open channels of communication between Israel and Iran in a bid to reduce tensions, the London-based Arabic newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat has reported, citing a senior Russian source", wrote Sputnik. "Mattis understood this", Macron said during a trip to Chad.

In addition, officials said that Trump made the decision without consulting with security officials or any of his allies, and in spite of fierce opposition of those involved in the fight against the Islamic State (IS).

"I think it's fair to say Americans will remain on the ground after the physical defeat of the caliphate, until we have the pieces in place to ensure that that defeat is enduring". "I call on everyone not to forget what they have done".

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