Trump warns Turkey against attacking Kurds

Wikimedia Turkish soldiers in training

United States military officials say they have begun withdrawing equipment.

Turkey has consistently attacked positions belonging to the YPG, most recently near the town of Kobani in northern Syria.

The phone call came as the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies worked to iron out differences and discussed ongoing cooperation in Syria to defeat Islamic State militants even as USA forces began withdrawing from the country.

The sudden move shocked allies and led to criticism.

However, U.S. officials have given mixed messages since then.

Trump went as far as saying that Washington would "economically devastate" Turkey if Ankara chose to strike against the militants of the USA -backed YPG.

The threat is probably really real from a Donald Trump standpoint.

Last month, Trump shocked the world by announcing the pullout of the 2,000 USA troops in Syria, prompting fears that Turkey will use the opportunity to slaughter the Kurds, who they view as mortal enemies and whom they have attacked in the past. "Likewise, do not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey", he added, noting that a "20-mile safe zone" could be created after the Americans withdraw from Syria. "Turkey expects the USA to honor our strategic partnership and doesn't want it to be shadowed by terrorist propaganda", he said.

Sensing a fleeting opportunity, Erdogan published his op-ed with an audience of one in mind, beginning with a frank assertion: "President Trump made the right call to withdraw from Syria". "I assume he's speaking about those kinds of things but you would have to ask him".

After the tweets by Trump, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's spokesperson Ibrahim Kahn criticized the threats.

"Turkey is looking after us very well".

He argued that Mr Trump knows that the Turkish economy is heading to a recession in 2019 and that Mr Erdogan will be in need of a massive International Monetary Fund bailout following March's local elections.

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The Turkish and U.S. presidents spoke by phone on Monday evening.

But to Turkey's relief, the United States sanctions were later lifted after Pastor Andrew Brunson was released by a Turkish court in October. "Turkey expects the U.S. to honor our strategic partnership and doesn't want it to be shadowed by terrorist propaganda", Kalin wrote.

Bali said ISIS fighters "realize that this battle is the battle to eliminate them". We remember people sitting in cages being burned.

"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.

Mr Erdogan has spoken angrily about American support for the Kurdish YPG militia, and vowed to crush it.

The comments immediately drew rebukes from Turkish officials, with Ankara asserting that it will not shrink from threats and rejecting any conflation of "Kurds" with terrorist groups.

How is Mike Pompeo's Middle East tour going?

The two leaders also agreed to advance bilateral economic relations. "Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troop movements".

However, many in the West have accused the crown prince of ordering the killing - something he has denied.

About 2,000 U.S. military personnel are reported to be deployed in northern Syria.

Cavusoglu however said the Idlib deal was being "successfully applied" and that statements that HTS took 50 percent of Idlib are "not true".

A USA defense official told Fox News on Friday that the US -led military coalition in Syria started the process of removing troops from the region, but wouldn't confirm further details for security purposes.

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