Egypt Syria's Kurds seek outside help to negotiate with regime

Egypt Syria's Kurds seek outside help to negotiate with regime

The US-led coalition battling ISIS added to confusion surrounding the US withdrawal from Syria on Friday by saying it had started the pullout process, but officials later clarified that only equipment, not troops, were being withdrawn.

Operation Inherent Resolve, the United States military's term for its intervention in Syria and Iraq, now means "implementing the orderly withdrawal of forces from northeast Syria within a framework coordinated across the U.S. government", Pentagon spokesperson Sean Robertson said on Friday evening.

Col. Sean Ryan, spokesman for the coalition fighting the Islamic State group, said the USA started "the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria".

She added that the peace and stability of areas USA forces withdraw from "must be guaranteed", including by putting an end to the Turkish threats and fully eradicating the IS group and its sleeper cells.

Why is the USA withdrawing from Syria?

"That includes planning for the moving of people and equipment, preparation of facilities to accept retrograde equipment", the official said, noting that no troops had been withdrawn yet. In public statements, he had repeatedly suggested that he wanted to bring American troops back home.

It also provoked concerns about the safety of Kurdish forces who fought ISIS alongside the Syria but are considered terrorists by Turkey and its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Trump's decision to remove troops from Syria sent shockwaves through the embattled region and led to the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis.

Pompeo told reporters that he spoke with Turkey's foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, on Saturday.

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Turkey had rejected the USA claim that the Syrian Kurds were represented by the YPG, which Ankara sees as a terrorist organization.

He added Pompeo also stressed the importance that the US places on the protection of forces, namely PYD/YPG, the Syrian offshoot of PKK terror organization.

Last week, President Erdogan angrily rejected calls by US National Security Adviser John Bolton for the Kurdish fighters to be protected.

The Kurdish groups that control the north have turned to Moscow and Damascus in the hope of striking a political deal that will stave off Turkey and shield their autonomy in the north.

The healthcare worker noted that she attempted to escape several times and was left with no courage as she failed, but she succeeded with the help of Turkey and was reunited with her family thanks to Turkey.

As part of the influx, they described seeing "a column of about 150 vehicles carrying armored vehicles, military, and logistical equipment", the observatory said.

Turkey sees the Kurdish YPG militia close to its border as a security threat.

The People's Protection Units (YPG), which have spearheaded ground operations against IS, are a Syrian offshoot of the Kurdish PKK which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.

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