Pompeo confident of good outcome for Turkey and Kurds

2018 shows a line of US military vehicles in Syria's northern city of Manbij

2018 shows a line of US military vehicles in Syria's northern city of Manbij

Cavusoglu said Washington made a decision to withdraw its troops from Syria after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's firm stance against removing threat coming to Turkey from east of the Euphrates River in Syria.

The fate of US troops in Syria was further muddled Tuesday when Turkish President Recep Erdogan said Bolton made a "grave mistake" when he demanded Turkey pledge protection of the American supported Kurdish fighters.

Any Turkish assault on the Kurdish-held territories in Syria liberated from the Islamic State while American forces are still there may entail a potential conflict between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

But another source close to Kurdish military officials in Syria told VOA it appeared the US military is in the process of relocating equipment and personnel within Syria. But in coming weeks, the contingent of about 2,000 troops is expected to depart even as the White House vows to keep pressure on the Islamic State group.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had earlier reported that the coalition had started scaling down its presence at Rmeilan airfield in the notheastern province of Hasakeh.

President Trump blindsided global and regional allies, such as the YPG, on December 19 when he announced he would bring US troops home.

Mr Trump abruptly announced the USA withdrawal from Syria on December 19, blindsiding U.S. allies and triggering a confrontation within the United States administration that led to the resignation of his defence secretary.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan labeled Bolton's comments unacceptable and a "grave mistake".

US forces' vehicles and structures are seen on the outskirts of the northern Syrian town of Manbij on December 26, 2018.

"These have been folks that have fought with us and it's important that we do everything we can to ensure that those folks that fought with us are protected", Pompeo said of the Kurds while visiting Irbil, the capital of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region, after talks in Baghdad. The spokesman added that, to protect security, the coalition would not provide details on troop movements.

Senior officials like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton have declined to put a timeline on when troops would be withdrawn. Ankara views U.S. Kurdish allies the YPG in Syria as one and the same with the PKK, a group that has waged a 34-year insurgency against Turkey.

"It is not possible for us to swallow the message Bolton gave from Israel", Erdogan said in the Turkish Parliament after refusing to meet with Bolton on his visit to Turkey.

A Kurdish-led group, the Syrian Democratic Forces, is now flushing the jihadists from the very last pockets of land they control in the Euphrates River Valley.

Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist movement and has repeatedly threatened to move into Syria to create a buffer zone along the border. If not, the Trump administration would be accused of abandoning an ally to a grim fate. Trump has asserted that the IS group in Syria is defeated, but others have said a continued USA military presence is necessary to prevent a resurgence of the group.

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