John Bolton says US withdrawal from Syria waiting on ‘conditions’

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Trump's National Security Advisor Bolton Trying to Allay Israeli Concerns on Syria Pullout

Bolton said in Israel that the US would pull out only after its troops had rooted out what's left of ISIL in Syria and after the administration had reached an agreement with Turkey to protect Kurdish militias who have fought alongside Americans against the extremists.

Trump echoed that sentiment in comments to reporters on the White House lawn Sunday. We're going to be removing our troops. Officials said at the time that although many details of the withdrawal had not yet been finalized, they expected American forces to be out by mid-January.

"We will continue to work with partners and allies to ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS through sustaining military gains and promoting regional security and stability", Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. I share that goal.

That announcement was met with criticism from members of both parties, and was followed by two high-profile resignations: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Brett McGurk, the US envoy to the coalition fighting the Islamic State. Turkey considers the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, a terrorist group linked to an insurgency within its own borders.

"There are objectives that we want to accomplish that condition the withdrawal", Bolton told reporters in Jerusalem.

Joost Hiltermann, Middle East and North Africa Program Director for the International Crisis Group, said the latest U.S. move showed a lack of "coherent policy" on the Middle East.

Accompanying Bolton on the trip are Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Jim Jeffrey, the new USA special envoy for the anti-Islamic State coalition.

The prime minister added that he meant to discuss a number of important issues with US National Security Adviser John Bolton later in the day.

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Those conditions, he said, included the defeat of remnants of IS in Syria, and protections for Kurdish militias who have fought alongside USA troops against the extremist group.

Speaking on a visit to Jerusalem, he said Turkey should not take any action that was not first approved by the United States and that "opposition forces that have fought with us" should not be endangered.

He said the withdrawal would take place in northeastern Syria, while some forces may remain to the south at the al-Tanf garrison as part of efforts to counter Iran's presence.

"To argue that a terrorist organization represents Kurds is, above all, disrespectful to our Kurdish brothers", Kalın said, adding, "One of the goals of Turkey's struggle against the PKK and its Syrian offshoots is to save the Kurds from the tyranny and oppression of this terror group."

In his resignation letter, Mattis noted disagreements he'd had with Trump over the President's approach to U.S. allies and adversaries, and stated that Trump deserved a defence secretary whose views would be more aligned with his.

"I think they know who their friends are", he said.

Clark, who went by the alias Abu Muhammad al-Ameriki, was reportedly one of at least 64 Americans from 16 states who had traveled to Iraq and Syria since 2011 to join jihadi groups, mainly ISIS. "That a terror organization can not be allied with the self-evident", he said.

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