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Trump threatens to 'devastate' Turkish economy over Syrian Kurds

14 January 2019

The pullout was reportedly sparked after a phone conversation between Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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

Pompeo's remarks follow tensions between the USA and Turkey over the fate of Washington's allies in the fight against ISIS.

President Trump's unexpected announcement last month that troops would leave the country has fueled fears that a power vacuum could strengthen ISIS and cede influence in the region to Iran and Russian Federation.

Mr Trump's comments on Sunday followed further criticism of his abrupt decision to withdraw United States forces from Syria.

Russia's foreign ministry said Friday that it suspected the us government was really intent on maintaining a military force inside Syria indefinitely, in spite of the pullout officially being announced by the Americans.

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Over the intervening years the number of USA troops in Syria has increased, and a network of bases and airfields has been established in an arc across the north-eastern part of the country.

The threats have intensified in recent days as the US begins the withdrawal process from Syria on President Donald Trump's orders.

Turkey on Saturday welcomed the latest statement made by Washington's top diplomat over Ankara's right to defend itself from "terrorists" after the USA withdraws from Syria.

The US decision has injected new uncertainty into the eight-year-long Syrian war and spurred a flurry of contacts over how a resulting security vacuum will be filled across a swathe of northern and eastern Syria where the US forces are stationed.

Either Turkey gave us some guarantees without a meeting, or the Kurds in Syria just found out how mercurial American support can be.

Erdogan said Bolton was making a "serious mistake".

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Turkey, however, regards the People's Protection Units (YPG) as terrorists. He said many details around the troop withdrawal still need to be ironed out, but that he was optimistic a "good outcome" could be reached between Turkey and Kurdish groups in Syria.

He added that pulling the troops does not reduce the nation's influence in the Middle Eastern country, nor does it hinder USA global objectives.

But, he added, "we also know that those fighting alongside of us for all this time deserve to be protected as well".

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday that the thousands of Turkish troops amassed along the Syrian border would attack whether the United States is out or not. There are some 2,000 USA troops stationed across northeastern Syria.

State Department's deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement that the two ministers agreed on the importance of continuing U.S. 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.

Media captionIs this the Islamic State group's last stand in Syria?

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Trump threatens to 'devastate' Turkish economy over Syrian Kurds