Trump warns Turkey against attacking Kurds

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In a separate tweet, Trump also warned the Kurds against provoking Turkey.

"Although we made a clear agreement with U.S. President Trump, different voices are emerging from different parts of the administration", Erdogan said as Bolton prepared to leave town after meeting other Turkish officials.

"It is a fatal mistake to equate Syrian Kurds with the PKK, which is on the United States terrorists list, and its Syria branch PYD/YPG", Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Twitter.

His declaration of victory against ISIS was far from unanimous, and officials said USA defense and military leaders were trying to dissuade him from ordering the withdrawal right up until the last minute.


Erdoğan lashed out at Bolton's remarks by indicating that Turkey can not accept the USA condition of protecting YPG terrorists. He mentioned a "20-mile safe zone" but again did not give details. Erdogan has vowed to crush it in the wake of Trump's decision to pull US troops out of the region.

The Kurdish YPG has been a US ally in the fight against the Islamic State group and it controls swaths of northern Syria.

"Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining ISIS territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions", Trump wrote on Twitter, referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group.

Erdogan has said his military is prepared to attack swaths of Syria under the control of the Kurdish People's Protection Units.


Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed Sunday that Israel had struck hundreds of Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria over the weekend, including a weapons facility, as the Israeli Defense Forces announced the discovery of a sixth and final tunnel dug by the Lebanese militant group for cross-border attacks.

On December 19, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders announced that the United States started to pull out its troops from Syria.

"We recognize the Turkish people's right to defend their country from terrorists, but we also know that those. who are not terrorists and fighting alongside us for all this time deserve to be protected", Pompeo told reporters.

Ankara sees the backbone of that alliance, the YPG, as a terrorist group linked to the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK), which has fought a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state.


Last week, US National Security Advisor John Bolton said a planned withdrawal of US troops from Syria was conditional on Turkey promising that it would not attack the YPG. That drew a rebuke from Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan who called his comments "a serious mistake".

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