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United States to 'devastate Turkey economically' if it attacks Syrian Kurds

United States to 'devastate Turkey economically' if it attacks Syrian Kurds

He also acknowledged some things still need to be worked out between Turkey and Kurdish forces, but remains confident of a positive outcome.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a coalition of militias led by the Kurdish YPG, have driven Islamic State from a swathe of northern and eastern Syria with the help of the US -led coalition over the last four years.

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

CNN reported on Thursday that the first U.S. military ground equipment has been withdrawn from Syria, according to an administration official with direct knowledge of the operation. "Will attack [ISIS] again from existing nearby base if it reforms".

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called his Turkish counterpart Saturday to discuss Syria, a conversation that comes at a time of increased tensions between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies over the planned US withdrawal from that country.

"The lasting defeat of ISIS is still the mission and they still present a very real threat to the long-term stability in this region, so it is not over yet".

The bilateral relations have been further aggravated by U.S. threats to halt the transfer of military tech to its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, including the fifth generation F-35 stealth fighter jets, and even to impose sanctions over Turkey's commitment to purchase Russian S-400 air defense systems, a diversification of weapons suppliers that enhances its national security.

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

Senior US officials were shocked too, among them Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who quit in protest.




"The Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke to Pompeo about the latest developments in Syria", said a brief statement from Turkey's foreign ministry.

"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 also appeared to propose a 20 mile safe zone on the Turkey-Syria border so as to prevent clashes between the Turkish military and Kurdish fighters in northern Syria.

He called the Syria pullout "long overdue" but said the United States would still hit "the little remaining Isis territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions".

How many United States troops are in Syria?

Mr Trump also said that Russia, Iran and Syria had been the biggest beneficiaries of U.S. action in Syria and it was time to bring American soldiers home.

Washington, however, considers the group as an effective force in the fight against IS.

The Turkish government has said Kurdish fighters are linked to a group that has been mounting an insurgency against the Turkish state for decades.