Trump shifts tone on Turkey in effort to halt Syria invasion

A Turkish helicopter flies over Turkish soldiers and journalists as US and Turkish armoured vehicles take part in their first joint patrol

The defense ministry said Tuesday that preparations were complete for an operation after Trump ordered the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the border region.

The US President also said the Turks "have also been good to deal with, helping me to save many lives at Idlib Province" the last remaining hotbed of jihadism in Syria.

Trump sought to explain his position by stressing that Washington has an important relationship with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member and trading partner Turkey.

"Zarif, opposed military action and emphasized respect for Syria's territorial integrity and national sovereignty and the need to fight terrorism and bring stability and security to Syria", state broadcaster IRIB said, about the phone call with Mevlut Cavusoglu.

The announcement came one day after Trump publicly warned Turkey it would be in "big trouble" if any American personnel in Syria are injured during a military operation Turkey is preparing to launch against Kurdish fighters who had been US allies against Islamic State militants. Trump's announcement has infuriated the Syrian Kurds, who stand to lose the autonomy they gained during Syria's civil war.

News that President Donald Trump has agreed to pull out USA troops and allow Turkey to enter the Kurdish held territory, political controversy erupted in Washington, where even prominent Republicans questioned Trump's decision for possibly abandoning Kurdish forces. But they said that so far there have been no signs of an actual assault beginning.

Fuat Oktay said in a speech Tuesday that Turkey is intent on combatting Kurdish fighters across its border in Syria and on creating a zone that would allow Turkey to resettle Syrian refugees there.

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It's unclear whether others among the roughly 1,000 United States forces in northeastern Syria would be moved, but officials said there was no plan for any to leave Syria entirely.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK - listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the European Union - has been responsible for the deaths 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.

Since 2016, Turkey's Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations in northwestern Syria have liberated the region from YPG and Daesh terrorists, making it possible for almost 400,000 Syrians who fled the violence to resettle in western Syria.

"I think there is a lot of pressure on Turkey". They also worry that if the Kurds end up fighting Turkish forces, they won't be able to guard detention centers in Syria that house thousands of captured IS fighters.

In the months to come after, Washington partnered with the YPG-led SDF in its fight against Daesh.

"The president is doubling down on this - seems to be reversing course", Schanzer said.

"I held off this fight for nearly 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home", he wrote. They are, he said, "not fighting".

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