The Pentagon is considering keeping some U.S. troops near oilfields in north-eastern Syria alongside the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to help deny oil to militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), said Defence Secretary Mark Esper yesterday.
Shortly after Esper spoke, President Trump acknowledged during a Cabinet meeting that the troops would be deployed to different areas first - but he added they would then return to the U.S. "But with that, they were a good help, but we were a great help to them too".
Speaking at an anti-smoking program held in Istanbul, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said: "We expect our American allies to keep their promises this time". "Again, we're talking weeks, not days".
Zalmay Khalilzad, the USA special envoy leading negotiations, has spoken informally with Taliban officials in Pakistan, raising the possibility that Washington is seeking to resume talks, and Esper has said he supports a political agreement.
A long convoy of United States troops crossed into Iraq from Syria early Monday, accelerating a withdrawal of American forces from northern Syria that set the stage for the Turkish invasion of Kurdish-controlled land.
At the same time, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham noted that the United States might go further than just "securing" Syrian oil fields, but could also upgrade them and help Kurdish militants, now in control of the most oil-rich areas in the country, to gain revenue. "And we never gave the Kurds a commitment that we'd stay for the next 400 years and protect them", he said.
Meanwhile, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a bipartisan group of US lawmakers have arrived in Jordan for talks with King Abdullah. I don't think so, ' Trump said.
Additionally, Turkey made a military move across the border shortly after the president's decision.
A senior Kurdish official, Redur Khalil, said Monday his forces are complying with the agreement and are preparing to complete the withdrawal.
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"With the deepening crisis in Syria after Turkey's incursion, our delegation has engaged in vital discussions about the impact to regional stability, increased flow of refugees, and the unsafe opening that has been provided to Isis (IS), Iran and Russian Federation", she said in a statement.
The president acknowledged their contribution.
"The French women who went to this region in 2015 knew what they were doing".
Turkey regards the Kurdish-led militias in Syria as a security threat due to their links to a Kurdish militant group that has fought a decades-long insurgency inside Turkey. It was me...who captured them, ' he said.
He called for an global mechanism to protect Kurdish civilians who want to stay in their towns after Kurdish-led fighters leave. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
His comments come amid reports of concern about experts that ISIS will benefit from the president's decision and regroup in the wake of the USA withdrawal.
Trump also downplayed the role the Kurds played in helping retake cities and towns claimed by ISIS forces. The main goal would be to prevent ISIS from resurging in Syria and Iraq. It's, it's absolutely a given that they will come back, ' he said last Sunday on NBC's 'Meet the Press'.
Trump also said he was fulfilling a campaign promise to disengage from worldwide conflicts as part of his "America first" agenda as he seeks re-election next year.
"I don't want to leave any troops there", Trump said.