Trump threatens to ‘devastate’ Turkey if Kurds are attacked

30 2018 shows a convoy of US military vehicles driving through Syria's northern city of Manbij | AFP

"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.

Trump's decision to withdraw troops has been clouded by mixed messages from Washington since it was abruptly announced last month, catching off guard allies including the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces militia.

Islamic State militants are "living their final moments" in the last enclave they hold near the Iraqi border, where USA -backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are attacking them, an SDF official said on Sunday. "They understand that there are squabbles in Washington, but their mission remains, their duties continue and they're executing them".

"If they are terrorists, we will do what is necessary no matter where they came from", Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week.

He said the U.S. envoy for Syria, Jim Jeffrey, had travelled to northeast Syria this week and would soon go to Ankara for talks, including on moving forward a UN-led political process to end the eight-year long conflict in Syria. Using his typical mode of communication to reaffirm the withdrawal of American troops from the ground, the U.S. president warned Ankara against seeing this as an opportunity to stage any military campaign against Syrian Kurds.

The announcement of a pullout is fueling concern about how quickly the US will abandon its Kurdish allies, amid contradictory statements recently by Trump administration officials on an exit timetable.

Residents near border crossings that are typically used by USA forces going in and out of Syria from Iraq said they had seen no obvious or large-scale movement of U.S. ground forces on Friday. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall.

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"We are confident we can achieve an outcome that achieves both of those", Pompeo told journalists in Abu Dhabi, his latest stop in a regional tour.

President Donald Trump last month announced he would withdraw U.S. forces from Syria, declaring they had succeeded in their mission to defeat IS and were no longer needed.

"In this regard, establishing dialogue between the Kurds and Damascus takes on particular significance".

Relations between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have been strained over United States backing for the Kurdish YPG, which Turkey views as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) waging a decades-long insurgency on Turkish soil.

A Kurdish politician told Reuters earlier this month that the leadership of northern Syria had presented Russian Federation with a road map for a deal and would pursue one regardless of United States plans.

Syria's deputy foreign minister said on Wednesday he was optimistic about renewed dialogue with the Kurds.

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