The withdrawal of 2,000 US forces from Syria must be planned carefully and performed in cooperation with the allies. Only such a scheme allows protecting the interests of all sides, Turkey’s president said.
The White House, the international community and the Syrian people could protect their interest only if the US troops will be withdrawn slowly and carefully, Mr Erdogan reiterates in his speech ahead of Trump adviser John Bolton visit to Ankara on Tuesday.
Mr Erdogan and Mr Bolton planned the meeting in the Turkish capital to discuss the withdrawal of 2,000 US forces from Syria. And according to Erdogan, his country “is the only country with the power and commitment to perform that task.” The issue of Kurds, however, is still the weakest chain in Turkish policy regarding Syria. The US-allied Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units, who fought alongside US forces against IS, have said they fear an assault by Turkey if the US withdraws.
John Bolton who is known as a super-hawk expressed his own vision of that issue on Sunday. Trump’s national security adviser reiterated there was no timeline for removing the US troops. “We are deeply concerned that some outside powers may use the organization’s remnants as an excuse to meddle in Syria’s internal affairs,” Bolton added.
The Turkish leader said in his op-ed that while IS had been defeated in a “military sense,” the victory was a “mere first step.” However, John Bolton said the US would seek assurances from Turkey that it would not harm US-allied Kurdish fighters, a condition of the withdrawal. Trump’s advisor also said that Ankara ought not to “undertake military action that is not fully coordinated with and agreed to by the United States.”