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Pompeo 'optimistic' Syria Kurds, Turkey can be protected

2019-01-11T182034Z_2027207574_RC19E6176790_RTRMADP_3_USA-POMPEO-BAHRAIN
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday he was optimistic about the talks with both Turkey and Kurds in Syria, Reuters reported.


“A good outcome can be achieved that protects both Turkey and the Syrian Kurds,” Pompeo said after speaking to the Turkish foreign minister.


Speaking in Abu Dhabi, Pompeo also said the withdrawal of US troops from Syria is a "tactical change" and does not alter US military capacity to counter Isis and Iran.


The US military has begun moving non-essential gear out of Syria but is not withdrawing troops for now, defense officials said amid uncertainty over America's planned exit from the war-battered nation.


President Donald Trump last month claimed the Isis group had been defeated in Syria and said all US troops were "coming back now."  


Trump's national security advisor John Bolton on Sunday announced conditions for a withdrawal that appeared to delay it indefinitely.


Adding to the confusion, a military spokesman said the US had already begun "the process of our deliberate withdrawal" from Syria.


Bolton's conditions for a withdrawal included the defeat of Isis in Syria and guarantees for the safety of Washington's Kurdish allies, who have been threatened with an imminent offensive by Turkey.


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan labeled Bolton's comments unacceptable and a "grave mistake."


The People's Protection Units (YPG), which have spearheaded ground operations against IS in Syria, are an offshoot of the Kurdish PKK, which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.


Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist movement and has repeatedly threatened to move into Syria to create a buffer zone along the border.

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