Trump warns Turkey of economic devastation if it hits Kurds

Turkey's Defence Minister Hulusi Akar listens during a meeting with the commanders of military units on Syrian border in Sanliurfa southeastern Turkey Friday Jan. 11 2019. Akar on an unannounced visit to troops stationed near the Syrian border

Last month, Trump announced that he wanted USA troops out of Syria - a decision that resulted in the resignations of Defense Secretary James Mattis and Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter ISIS.

Turkey has recently warned that it would launch combat operations across its southern border into northeastern Syria against Kurdish forces who have been allied with the U.S.in the fight against ISIS.

Pompeo had earlier said Washington recognized "the Turkish people's right and (Turkish President Recep Tayyip) Erdogan's right to defend their country from terrorists".

But, he added, "we also know that those are fighting alongside of us for all this time deserve to be protected as well".

"We are confident we can achieve an outcome that achieves both of those", Pompeo told journalists in Abu Dhabi.

So far the U.S. military has only started to move equipment out of Syria.

He said: "Terrorists can't be your partners and allies".

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on January 12 he was optimistic that a "good outcome" can be achieved that protects both Turkey and the Syrian Kurds, after speaking to the Turkish foreign minister. National Security Advisor John Bolton conditioned the exit on guarantees from Turkey not to attack the group - angering Ankara.

How many United States troops are in Syria? A separate spokesman for the anti-ISIS coalition declined to discuss timelines, locations and troop movements, as NPR's Bill Chappell reported.

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Mr Trump's comments on Sunday followed further criticism of his abrupt decision to withdraw USA forces from Syria.

Russia, which has deployed forces into Syria in support of the Damascus regime, said it had the impression that the United States wanted to stay despite the announced withdrawal of U.S. troops, RIA news agency reported.

Kurds and Christians in the northeast region "have tried to put together this pluralistic model which is based on secularism", he told NPR.

"We have achieved the goal that we set out to achieve", he said. "We will be like second-class citizens at best, if we survive as Syriac Christians and Kurds".

"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.

Syria's deputy foreign minister said on Wednesday he was optimistic about renewed dialogue with the Kurds. He described a "big and growing" coalition to exert pressure on Iran.

Pompeo stressed those fighting alongside the US are not terrorists and deserve protection.

Trump announced on his Twitter page that United States troops in Syria are starting their pullout "while hitting the little remaining ISIS [Daesh*]' terrorists 'from many directions", adding that USA "will attack again from existing nearby base if it [Daesh terrorist group] reforms".

Turkey's president wrote in a New York Times op-ed that Trump "made the right call". "They understand that there are squabbles in Washington, but their mission remains, their duties continue and they're executing them".

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