Turkey says will launch Syria offensive if United States delays pullout

Pauline Gross
January 10, 2019

On Monday, Erdogan published an opinion article in the New York Times saying the Turkish government has "no argument with the Syrian Kurds."He called for a "stabilization force" in Syria that would be created by Turkey. We believe the sooner they leave Syria the better for the people of this country", he told reporters on the sidelines of the Raisina Dialogue, a multilateral conference held annually in New Delhi".

It has vowed to increase the pressure until Iran halts what USA officials describe as its "malign activities" throughout the Middle East and elsewhere, including support for rebels in Yemen, anti-Israel groups and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Turkish officials had a tense meeting this week with Trump's national security adviser John Bolton in Ankara aimed at coordinating the pullout process. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

"In falsely seeing ourselves as a force for what ails the Middle East, we were timid about asserting ourselves when the times - and our partners - demanded it", Pompeo said, without mentioning the former president by name.

The base, which is close to the Iraqi and Jordanian borders, is considered as a significant leverage against pro-Assad and Iranian forces in the area. When we do set up major bases, as we have done in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Turkey, and the UAE, it is at the invitation of the host country.

The US, along with Turkey, Gulf Arab states, and Jordan, has been supporting some rebel groups.

Pompeo also faulted what he called Obama's "desire for peace at any cost" that led him to strike the 2015 nuclear deal under which Iran agreed to curtail its nuclear weapons program in exchange for easing of global economic sanctions.

Many Kurds are concerned that a USA pullout will make them vulnerable to assaults from Turkey and the remaining members of ISIS still in the region.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the planned USA pullout will not deter Israel from continuing to carry out airstrikes against Iranian military interests in Syria.

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"There is an understanding between Turkey and Russian Federation about Manbij as well", he said.

He appeared to walk that back on Sunday. "Jordan and Turkey have hosted millions of Syrians fleeing violence".

"The Trump administration is making Iran a priority not for engagement but for conflict [as well as]. sacrificing a lot of things in the region in order to make sure that they have the Middle East strategic alliance against Iran".

The Turkish foreign minister's remarks came a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan rebuffed Bolton and refused a meeting.

National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis said USA officials were told Erdogan cited local election season and a speech to parliament for not meeting with Bolton.

A senior State Department official insisted ahead of the trip the USA will "not leave the Middle East".

The US will work with allies to "expel every last Iranian boot" from Syria, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says.

Trump this year abandoned that deal, pursuing instead what his administration has called a policy of "maximum pressure" on Iran to try to force it to limit its nuclear program, curtail its ballistic missile activities and cease supporting proxy forces in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon.

Other reports by GizPress

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