09:29 GMT08 March 2021
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    US National Security Adviser John Bolton spent 7 January in Israel discussing the US troop withdrawal, stating that the country's forces would not leave Syria until Turkey agrees not to attack US-allied Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria and until the remaining Daesh* terrorists have been defeated.

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has commented on Bolton's call for Ankara not to undertake military operations in Syria without an agreement with the United States.

    Erdogan has criticised US National Security Adviser John Bolton's recent statement, saying he made a "serious mistake", and that Turkey could never compromise on the issue of the Kurdish YPG militia.

    "Bolton is making a big mistake, his statement is unacceptable. Terrorist organisations do not represent Kurds. Those who spread lies about Turkey killing Kurds in Syria are trying to play on the mood of the world community", Erdogan said during his presentation to the parliamentary faction of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

    READ MORE: Turkey Reportedly to Ask US to Hand Over Military Bases in Syria

    Erdogan underlined, addressing members of the AKP Party, that the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia's fight against Daesh was nothing but a huge lie.

    As the Turkish president stated, Ankara could start operation in Syria at any moment after Bolton's visit.

    There is No Slowdown in US Withdrawal From Syria

    Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin has commented on the US troops withdrawal, stressing that Turkey will not allow the American military pullout from Syria to create new opportunities for terrorists.

    "The US attitude to the YPG is worrisome. The withdrawal of American troops should not be a new chance for terrorists. We said that this process should not be protracted, and we see a positive response from the US. Implementation of the road map on Manbij should be continued as agreed, we will also continue efforts to form a constitutional commission", Kalin told reporters in Ankara.

    The spokesman continued by questioning the fate of US bases and weapons that had been given to Kurdish fighters, noting that there was no slowdown in the United States' withdrawal from Syria. As he specified, Turkey had urged the US to seize arms given to the Syrian Kurdish militia.

    "We have discussed the issue of collecting weapons. Turkey expects the United States to return weapons delivered to Syria to Pentagon's arsenals. This condition is not only for our safety, but also for the safety of local residents. We were informed that work in this direction is underway, the details will be known in the coming days," Kalin told reporters.

    Moreover, the spokesman noted that the Turkish president did not pledge in contacts with Trump to protect the Kurdish militia in Syria. Besides, he stressed that Ankara would not seek permission to coordinate any operation in Syria.

    READ MORE: Troop Removal From Syria Unlikely As Bolton Sets Questionable Conditions

    Pompeo and Bolton Discuss US Troops Withdrawal With Middle East Officials

    On 7 January, the Trump administration dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton to the Middle East to discuss the withdrawal of US forces in Syria and a claim that the Daesh terror group has been defeated. The Secretary of State is expected to visit Cairo, Egypt; Manama, Bahrain; Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Doha, Qatar; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Muscat, Oman; and Kuwait City, Kuwait from January 8-15, to discuss controversial issues with the region's leaders. Pompeo will also deliver a keynote speech in Cairo outlining the US commitment to peace and security in the region.

    Meanwhile, Trump’s initial announcement was followed by a build-up of Turkish forces near the Syrian city of Manjib, where Kurdish forces remain, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned on Friday that the United States needed to first ensure that Turkey would not massacre the Kurds in the US-backed People’s Protection Units (YPG) when US troops departed. Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist group.

    *Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist group banned in Russia


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    military operations, Daesh, Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, Syria, US
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