Published: Mon, January 14, 2019
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Islamic State 'living its final moments': US-backed forces

Islamic State 'living its final moments': US-backed forces

At the same time, Trump urged the Kurd-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which the USA trained and armed for years, not to "provoke" Turkey.

The phone call came during Pompeo's nine-nation tour of the Middle East, which is aimed at reassuring allies following U.S. President Donald Trump's withdrawal decision from Syria.

Pompeo also said the withdrawal of US troops from Syria was a "tactical change" and does not alter USA military capacity to counter Daesh and Iran. "Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms", the President tweeted on Sunday.

Trump's decision to withdraw troops has been clouded by mixed messages from Washington since it was abruptly announced last month, catching off guard allies including the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces militia.

It's a stark threat toward an ally in the region that has partnered with the USA in the fight against ISIS.

Pompeo said Trump considers the kingdom a "key ally" for the USA and their partnership will keep going. It also prompted the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and drew criticism in Congress. Sen.

DAMASCUS, Jan 13 - The Syrian government hopes dialog with Syrian Kurdish groups will intensify, a minister said on Sunday, signaling support for talks the Kurds hope will lead to a political deal between two of the main players in the multi-sided war.

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

But Mr Trump attempted to reassure both Syrian Kurds and observers anxious about a potential ISIS resurgence, saying U.S. troops would remain across the border in Iraq to enforce a 20 mile safe zone. It also provoked concerns about the safety of Kurdish forces who fought ISIS alongside the Syria but are considered terrorists by Turkey and its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Trump tweeted Sunday that what he calls the "long overdue" US pull-out from Syria has started "while hitting the little remaining ISIS territorial caliphate hard and from many directions". Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall.

Pompeo's remarks follow tensions between the United States and Turkey over the fate of Washington's allies in the fight against ISIS.

Colonel Sean Ryan, the coalition spokesman, said: "The SDF is making great progress and continues to liberate more territory once held by ISIS (Islamic State), but the fight continues".

Mr Kalin also said: "It is a fatal mistake to equate Syrian Kurds with the PKK, which is on the USA terrorists list, and its Syria branch PYD/YPG".

"We have achieved the goal that we set out to achieve", he said.

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