Why the abrupt U.S. pullout from Syria is cause for concern

At a press conference on December 25, Çavuşoğlu spoke about Ankara's intention to get in coordination with Russian Federation upon instructions by Erdoğan after U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly chose to pull out all U.S. troops from Syria.

The Syrian regime has been present in Arimah, west of Manbij, since 2017, Turkey's Defense Ministry said Tuesday, amid reports of the PKK's Syrian affiliate, the People's Protection Units (YPG) handing over the town to regime forces.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu assured the Russian ambassador to Ankara, Alexei Yerkhov, that Turkey would not provide the United States with the opportunity to study S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems, a source in the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

Ankara regards the YPG as terrorists and has been infuriated by United States support for the group in the fight against IS. The PKK is blacklisted as a terror group by Ankara, the U.S. and the European Union.

Cavusoglu told Turkish media during a briefing that Ankara has "the power to neutralize [ISIS] alone" amid fears that a USA pull-out will hurt the fight against the militant group.

Citing an unnamed source, Bas News revealed that Russian Federation had urged SDF to "hand over the border Arab residential areas, including Deir ez-Zor, Raqa, Hassaka, and Manbij to the Syrian Regime in order for the country's forces to prevent the Turkish army from overrunning the territories".

Zakharova said that the Syrian government has everything necessary to guarantee stability on the basis of a dialogue and interaction with all national patriotic forces in the interest of all Syrians, which would without any doubt suffice to destroy the terrorists and exclude their re-emergence on Syrian soil.

The deployment was co-ordinated with the US-backed Kurdish militia in Manbij, the spokesman for the Manbij Military Council said.

More news: Turkey's Army Edges Closer to Attacking Syrian Kurd Stronghold

According to Balanche, Turkey could at most "prevent" an ISIS resurgence by closing its border with Syria to the jihadists and carrying out targeted operations like in the al-Bab region of northern Syria in 2016.

Trump's shock move put allies on the backfoot, with French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday saying "an ally must be reliable". A source close to SDF leadership told VOA the expectations are that Russian-backed Syrian forces will move into some of the areas the SDF vacates once the US leaves.

The co-chairs of the Syrian Democratic Council were in Paris on Friday and warned that a Turkish attack could bring the battle against the IS in Syria to a halt.

"Erdogan is a victim of his own success in selling Trump on the idea that Turkey is ready to assume control over the counter-ISIS mission in Syria indefinitely", Nicholas Heras, an analyst at the Center for a New American Security, said.

A spokesman for the Turkish president, Ibrahim Kalin, told reporters that Trump accepted the invitation, but that a date hasn't been set yet.

"Any new military operations by Turkey could, therefore, be met with resistance from an alliance between Esad and PYD/YPG".

Trump has said the withdrawal from Syria will be slow and coordinated with Turkey, without providing a timetable.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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