Published: Fri, January 11, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Turkey’s Erdogan blasts John Bolton over ‘unacceptable’ comments on Syrian Kurdish militia

Turkey’s Erdogan blasts John Bolton over ‘unacceptable’ comments on Syrian Kurdish militia

Some 2,000 U.S. military personnel are reported to be in Syria, and have been involved in fighting Islamic State militants.

On Jan. 6, John Bolton, Trump's national security adviser, told reporters that the pullout would not begin until Washington received sufficient assurance that Turkey would not strike Kurdish forces in Syria.

It was Erdoğan who gave the first impressions over the talks between Bolton and Kalın in his weekly address to his Justice and Development Party (AKP) parliamentary group. A long-promised Trump plan for a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians has so far failed to materialize.

StringerReuters via NewscomJohn Bolton, President Trump's National Security Advisor and a committed foreign policy hawk, has derailed his boss's plans for a quick withdrawal from Syria.

"I want to emphasize this specifically: We are now again facing a situation that we had observed with the American administration in the past".

The fighters were allegedly captured in Deir Ezzor, a region that is now being hit by a US -led coalition.

Yet, the president's remark that Iran can do as it pleases in Syria completely contradicted Trump's past statements about challenging the Islamic Republic's ambitions in Syria. But, he added, any operation into Syria would also target YPG positions.

"We can not accept Bolton's messages given from Israel", the Turkish president said, adding that Bolton made a "serious mistake," Reuters reported.

According to Bishara, Pompeo's approach was set at a low bar, with scant mention of Yemen - just half a line - despite the war in Yemen being a key issue in the Middle East.

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He said this was particularly so in the case of Iran. He remains reluctant to alienate Trump, said Nihat Ali Ozcan, a security policy analyst at the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey.

In a scathing response on Twitter, Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif mockingly said Teran will "mimic" United States policy in the Middle East "when hell freezes over".

Pompeo downplayed the idea that the withdrawal of US forces from Syria would give Iran the upper hand there, saying that, "In Syria, the United States will use diplomacy and work with our partners to expel every last Iranian boot, and work through the [United Nations]-led process to bring peace and stability to the long-suffering Syrian people".

The announcement led to the resignation of former U.S. defence chief Jim Mattis, and it has highlighted the shaky and often contradictory messages coming from senior officials within the Trump administration - including the president himself, who has waffled when pressed to provide a timeframe for the withdrawal of about 2,000 USA troops.

The YPG, widely seen as Washington's most effective local partner in the fight against IS, sees the move as leaving them open to Turkish assault.

Pompeo went on with his speech by ascribing Middle Eastern chaos, violence and oppression to the Obama Administration's timidity and inaction. "He's an ally, he represents a friendly country", Abdul Mahdi said of Pompeo on Tuesday. He also said US troops could not leave without guarantees from Turkey that Turkish forces would not attack the YPG.

The U.S. has about 5,000 troops in Iraq, and Trump said on his visit that he had no intention to bring them home as he's signaled he'll do with the 2,000 American soldiers in Syria.

Mr Pompeo was speaking in Cairo three weeks after President Donald Trump said United States troops were pulling out of Syria. He cited accomplishments under Trump's leadership - including the pushback of Islamic State, the withdrawal of more troops and personnel from Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and building a coalition to push back against Iranian influence.

Last month, Erdogan threatened to launch a cross-border operation against the YPG, east of the Euphrates River, which he said later would be delayed after Trump's pullout order.

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