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Assad's forces must fill void left by US, Russia tells Turkey

27 Décembre 2018

Perhaps the most telling aspect of US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw American troops from Syria and the subsequent resignation of his defence secretary - retired Marine general Jim Mattis - is the apoplexy it has occasioned among the Western commentariat across the political spectrum.

The crushing response of the IDF is very important following President Trump's announcement of the United States withdrawal from Syria: the IDF explicitly stated that with and without an American presence, it would not hesitate to attack Iranian targets in Syria, and with significant force.

Syrian government forces have entered the country's northern border region of Manbij controlled by Kurdish fighters, local sources told Al Jazeera and Turkey's state-run Anadolu agency.

Ankara claims the YPG is an extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged attacks on Turkish soil since the 1980s as they sought autonomy.

Cavusoglu warned France against shielding Kurdish YPG fighters from a Turkish assault after Kurdish forces called for a larger French role after the USA withdrawal.

The remarks came a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin said it was impossible to seal the S-400 agreement with Turkey in dollar. "While nothing definite is being planned, the President is open to a potential meeting in the future", a White House spokesperson later said on Monday evening.

Trump has said the withdrawal from Syria will be slow and coordinated with Turkey, without providing a timetable.

Critics of Trump's move fear that thousands of IS members could make gains in Syria, despite the U.S. leader's claim that the group had been defeated.

The Turkish leader has also slammed American officials for rejecting his requests to hand over Fethullah Gulen, a powerful opposition figure living in the U.S., whom Ankara accuses of having masterminded the July 2016 coup attempt.

"Therefore, IS may pose a continued threat to world peace and Turkey may be one of the immediate targets of the jihadists", Demirtas added. We will use them if need be.

"We closely coordinate our views and the implementation of a concrete policy in Syria with our Turkish colleagues", Zakharova added.

Turkey has said it is working with the U.S. to coordinate the withdrawal of United States forces but remains "determined" to clear US-allied Kurdish fighters from Manbij in northeastern Syria. Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has said the military is "intensely" preparing for a major operation against Syrian Kurds in Manbij, Aleppo Governorate, and to the east of the Euphrates.

Military reinforcements had also been sent to the Akcakale border town and Ceylanpinar district, both in the southeastern Sanliurfa province.

Turkey announced in mid-December that it would launch a fresh military campaign against the Kurdish People's Protection Units, a militia in Syria that Ankara considers a terrorist group.

"To repel a Turkish attack, we are discussing various options ..."

Mr Trump's dismay at U.S. foreign engagements evidently extends to Afghanistan, where a somewhat more gradual disengagement is on the cards. The French military has stationed fighter jets in Jordan and artillery along the Syrian border in Iraq as part of the coalition, as well as an undisclosed number of special forces on the ground. "There will thus be a need for tighter coordination between Turkey, Russia, and Iran, including on Ankara's concerns and intended steps in Syria".

Assad's forces must fill void left by US, Russia tells Turkey