Pompeo says good outcome possible for both Turkey and Syrian Kurds


"Likewise, do not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey", Trump said in a tweet late Sunday.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Saturday he is "optimistic" the Syrian Kurds will not be abandoned and confident the usa and Turkey can work out a deal to assure the Kurds will be safe.

Donald Trump has warned Turkey of economic devastation if it attacks Kurdish forces in the wake of the U.S. troop pullout from Syria, while also urging the Kurds not to "provoke" Ankara.

"It is a fatal mistake to equate Syrian Kurds with the PKK, which is on the USA terrorists list, and its Syria branch PYD/YPG", Ibrahim Kalin, Turkish presidential spokesperson said on Twitter in response to Trump's threat.

Asked about SDF progress, the spokesman for the US -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". Turkey considers the YPG to be affiliated with the PKK, which is banned by Ankara as a terrorist organisation. He proposed creating a 20-mile safe zone to protect the Kurds.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday sought to reassure Washington's Kurdish allies in the fight against ISIS, who fear the departure of American troops would allow Turkey to attack them.

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In a Sunday evening tweet, the president wrote that he is "Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining ISIS territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions".

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In his tweets Sunday, Trump also mentioned striking the Islamic State from an "existing nearby base" if the group reappears after the U.S. withdrawal, something analysts have feared if USA forces hastily leave the country.

He said: "Terrorists can't be your partners and allies".

"We also know that those who aren't terrorists, those who were fighting alongside of us for all this time deserve to be protected as well", Pompeo said.

The Turkish government has said Kurdish fighters are linked to a group that has been mounting an insurgency against the Turkish state for decades.

Earlier, US Department of Defense Spokesperson Dana White confirmed earlier that the United States are pulling out their troops from Syria, adding that the US military is transitioning to the next phase of their campaign against ISIS.

Relations between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have been strained over USA backing for the Kurdish YPG, which Turkey views as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that is waging a decades-long insurgency on Turkish soil.

Cavusoglu once again "rejected and condemned" Bolton's comments on the conditional withdrawal and said despite different voices coming out from Washington, the Turkish president's interlocutor was Trump.