Trump threatens to devastate Turkey's economy if it attacks Kurds

Turkish US foreign ministers discuss Syria on phone

Pompeo 'optimistic' Syria Kurds, Turkey can be protected

Seeking to quell concern about the US troop withdrawal from Syria, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday described the American exit as a "tactical change" in military strategy that wouldn't deter efforts to defeat ISIS or hurt USA interests in the region.

"We hope we can turn the corner here", Mr Pompeo added.

Mr Kalin also said: "It is a fatal mistake to equate Syrian Kurds with the PKK, which is on the U.S. terrorists list, and its Syria branch PYD/YPG".

"The withdrawal is based on operational conditions on the ground, including conversation with our allies and partners, and is not be subject to an arbitrary timeline", he said.

"Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining ISIS territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions", he began.

Asked about SDF progress, the spokesman for the USA -led coalition, Colonel Sean Ryan, said: "The SDF is making great progress and continues to liberate more territory once held by ISIS (Islamic State), but the fight continues".

Speaking in Abu Dhabi, Mr Pompeo said the United States recognised "the Turkish people's right and Mr Erdogan's right to defend their country from terrorists".

Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton had a tense meeting with Turkish officials in Ankara this week. "The bulk of recent attacks show how we are more committed than ever to act against Iran in Syria, as we promised".

US President Donald Trump has warned Turkey that it risks economic retaliation by the United States if it attacks Syrian Kurdish forces after the withdrawal of US troops from Syria.

Last month, Trump announced that he wanted U.S. troops out of Syria - a decision that resulted in the resignations of Defense Secretary James Mattis and Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter ISIS.

The announcement of a pullout is fueling concern about how quickly the US will abandon its Kurdish allies, amid contradictory statements recently by Trump administration officials on an exit timetable.

"We stand to lose our way of life, we also stand to lose our property and our livelihood", said Ishak.

Just because a "couple thousand uniform personnel" will be leaving Syria, Pompeo said, doesn't mean that US interests have changed.

The president's announcement also accelerated the resignation of Brett McGurk, the special envoy to the coalition fighting ISIS.

Turkey's president wrote in a New York Times op-ed that Trump "made the right call".

Pompeo also spoke about the partial government shutdown, which has become the nation's longest. "We will continue to fight against them all". He is also expected to travel to Saudi Arabia.

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