Pompeo says 'no contradiction' on Syria policy despite shifting U.S. statements

Pompeo Visits Middle East to Increase Pressure on Iran

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan refused to meet with USA national security adviser John Bolton on Tuesday, while telegraphing a widening rift between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies that leaves the Trump administration's plans to withdraw troops from Syria in limbo.In a speech to parliament, Erdogan said that Bolton had made "serious mistake" in calling for a new condition for the us exit from Syria. "So for as long as there are policies that are counter to these principles, then we will continue to have issues with their policy". "Countries increasingly understand that we must confront the ayatollahs, not coddle them".

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has drawn heavily on Iranian military support, including units of the Revolutionary Guards Corps and Iran-backed Hezbollah militia fighters, during the country's eight-year civil war.

Masoud Barzani expressed his concerns about the fate of Rojava and urged the United States not to let "new developments cause any suffering or damage to the Kurdish nation" across the border, Barzani's office detailed in a readout of their meeting.

Many Kurds are concerned that a United States pullout will make them vulnerable to assaults from Turkey and the remaining members of ISIS still in the region.

"In many cases diplomats at that level will not be as assertive as an ambassador in offering policy recommendations to a secretary of state, and the recommendations they do offer might not be taken as seriously", said Michele Dunne, a former State Department official and the director of the Middle East program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington-based think tank. In response, Turkish officials declined to reveal the particulars of their diplomatic conversations. "I wish I were wrong", Rybakov continued in response to a question from Russian state media.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov talks to Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia Valery Gerasimov (from left to right) ahead of the meeting on Syria in Moscow, on December 29, 2018. "The timetable flows from the policy decisions that we need to implement".

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Murat Yesiltas, the director of security studies at the Ankara-based SETA thinktank, said Manbij could be the first area where progress towards a wider resolution could be made.

But beyond these short-term considerations, Erdogan has designs in Syria. They are the second batch the administration has re-imposed since Trump withdrew from the accord in May.

U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw all American troops from Syria is "very clear", Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said January 9, before adding that Washington "acknowledges that there is a threat to Turkey from terrorists".

But Pompeo's effort at damage control was in part overshadowed by Bolton's rocky visit to Turkey, where he angered Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by walking back Trump's off-the-cuff Syria policy.

Cavusoglu said Ankara would fight the YPG whether or not the U.S. withdraws from Syria. Over the past week, Bolton has acknowledged that ISIS is not yet vanquished and still has the capacity for "reviving" itself; United States allies in the region still require our protection; and that the withdrawal is limited to "northeastern Syria".

The US will work with allies to "expel every last Iranian boot" from Syria, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says.

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