Tehran Warns Poland: Don't Side with U.S. Against Iran

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Masoud Barzani leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in the province's capital Arbil during a Middle East tour

Turkey has carried out military exercises at the border with Syria before an expected offensive on the northern city of Manbij, now held by the United States-backed Kurdish fighters.

Turkey considers many of Syria's Kurdish groups to be terrorists and has pledged to attack them.

Pompeii's speech was part of a nine-nation tour of the region aimed at assuring the leaders of the Arab states that the Trump administration is still taking an active role in the region amid confusion over the recent decision to withdraw USA forces from Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan then canceled a planned meeting with Bolton.

"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.

The woman was reportedly sent to Syria where she took medical training from French and USA doctors for six months and was later transferred to the hospitals in the region for practice, she said in the testimony.

American officials wanted to condition a United States troop withdrawal on a guarantee of safety for its Kurdish allies and a Turkish commitment to non-aggression, an idea President Erdogan hated so much, he refused to meet with NSA John Bolton who had flown all the way to Ankara to meet with him.

He said such statements were "unacceptable".

"We hope we can turn the corner here", Mr Pompeo added.

Bolton's conditions for a pullout included the defeat of IS in Syria and guarantees for the safety of Washington's Kurdish allies, who have been threatened with an imminent offensive by Turkey.

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Turkey views the US-backed YPG Syrian Kurdish militia as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged a 34-year insurgency in Turkey for Kurdish political and cultural rights, mostly in southeastern areas near Syria.

But outrage over the Saudi murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi has complicated the relationship. A senior U.S. official said the Americans wanted the Saudis to give a more credible explanation of what happened and do more to punish the killers, and Mr Pompeo would press them on both points.

The U.S. -led coalition in Syria is beginning to withdraw troops from the country.

In 2014, militants overran 100,000 sq km (39,000 sq miles) of Syria and neighbouring Iraq, and imposed their brutal rule on nearly 8 million people.

Residents near border crossings that are typically used by United States forces going in and out of Syria from Iraq said they had seen no obvious or large-scale movement of USA ground forces on Friday.

The U.S. announcement that Mr. Trump's ordered withdrawal is underway might be enough to convince Turkey to hold fire against America's Kurdish battleground allies, for a while, but Erdogan still wants to go after them, and he could make good on his threats - even on a small scale - at any time.

She charged that the US appeared to be "looking for a reason to stay" in Syria.

USA defence officials quickly sought to clarify the remark, stressing that the withdrawal was only of certain types of gear, and not troops.

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