Claims that Turkey targets Kurds are irrational: Spokesman Kalin

Claims that Turkey targets Kurds are irrational: Spokesman Kalin

The Syrian Democratic Forces, a coalition of Kurdish and Arab fighters that has largely fought the ground operations against ISIS in Syria, is increasing concerned about their future after US President Donald Trump's decision to remove American troops from Syria last month.

When asked whether Bolton's comments would affect that timeline, a senior administration official said that "there is no specific timeline for the withdrawal of US troops from Syria, and reports to the contrary are false".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he would discuss Iranian ambitions in neighbouring Syria when he meets Sunday evening with USA national security advisor John Bolton in Jerusalem.

Trump announced in mid-December that the United States will withdraw all of its 2,000 troops in Syria.

Bolton's comments come amid reports that Trump had agreed to extend his initial 30-day deadline for withdrawal to four months.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the top USA official in the fight against ISIS, Brett McGurk, both resigned in the wake of Trump's comments. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who is normally a close ally of the president, have said a quick withdrawal would be a mistake, in part because it could leave the region vulnerable to a possible ISIS resurgence.

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"We won't be finally pulled out until ISIS is gone", Trump said before departing for Camp David. The 35-year-old, who reportedly went by the alias Abu Zaid al-Ameriki, does not appear to have been one of the fighters, mainly USA citizens and legal residents, who had been identified in the Program on Extremism report. Bolton's statement appears to add a new condition before withdrawing: receiving assurances from Ankara that US-backed Kurdish militias in northern Syria will not face an assault from Turkish forces.

NBC News also reported that, according to a senior administration official, some troops will remain in Syria longterm.

Netanyahu, during his joint press conference with Bolton, said he planned to take Bolton to visit the Golan before he leaves for Turkey on Monday if weather permits.

Bolton said USA troops would remain at the critical are of al-Tanf, in southern Syria, to counter growing Iranian activity in the region. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. He told CBS' "Face the Nation" that "the bottom line here is we want to make sure we get this right, that ISIS doesn't come back". He defended the legal basis for the deployment, saying it's justified by the president's Constitutional authority, adding "I'm a strong believer in Article II".

A line of United States military vehicles drive through a checkpoint of the Internal Security Forces in Manbij as they head to their base on the outskirts of the northern Syrian city, on December 30, 2018.

Israel annexed East Jerusalem after capturing it from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War, a move not recognized by most of the worldwide community.

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