Turkey 'determined' to drive out Syrian Kurdish forces

Turkey 'determined' to drive out Syrian Kurdish forces

Retired U.S. Army General Wesley Clark suggested Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan might have blackmailed US President Donald Trump into removing troops from Syria.

U.S. President Donald Trump is "open to a potential meeting in the future" with his Turkish counterpart, the White House said December 24.

Turkey said Tuesday it is working with the United States to coordinate the withdrawal of American forces but remains "determined" to clear USA -allied Kurdish fighters from northeastern Syria.

FILE - U.S. forces are seen at the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) headquarters after it was hit by Turkish airstrikes in Mount Karachok near Malikiya, Syria, April 25, 2017.

He referred to Turkey's cross-border offensive launched in August 2016 against the IS in northern Syria and said Ankara would take all measures to avoid a power vacuum after the USA withdrawal.

Last week, the United States announced a full withdrawal from northern Syria, prompting Turkey to delay its plans.

"That's the part that I think is heartbreaking to those in the military that are aware of what we were getting ready to do, to those of us who supported the clearing of ISIS and the things that have happened on the ground in Syria", Corker said. A source close to SDF leadership told VOA the expectations are that Russian-backed Syrian forces will move into some of the areas the SDF vacates once the USA leaves.

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Trump on Sunday wrote on Twitter that he had a "long and productive" call with Erdogan in which they discussed "the slow & highly coordinated" pullout of USA military personnel.

Turkey says it and its Syrian Arab allies can replace the U.S.in preventing a resurgence of the Islamic State group.

"There is no question of a step backwards, vulnerability or a slowdown in the fight against Daesh (IS)", Kalin vowed, adding: "Turkey will show the same determination against Daesh".

Turkey, along with other countries, is seeking a UN-led investigation into the unsolved case, Çavuşoğlu added on Tuesday.

"We are cooperating with Turkey and Iran", Lavrov told a Russian news agency, according to a transcript posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry's website.

Turkey has previously launched two operations with the rebels in Syria against IS in August 2016 and against the YPG in its northwestern enclave of Afrin in January 2018. "After many years, they are coming home", Trump said on Twitter, using an alternate name for Daesh.

"It is crucial that the US doesn't appear as not having kept its promises", Cavusoglu said. Turkey already has troops in northwestern Syria and has backed Syrian fighters there to clear towns and villages of ISIS militants and USA -backed Kurdish YPG fighters.

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