Turkey sends military reinforcements to Syria border

Trump US to slowly exit Syria

"The two leaders agreed to ensure coordination between their countries' military, diplomatic and other officials to avoid a power vacuum which could result following any abuse of the withdrawal and transition phase in Syria", the Turkish presidency said in a statement.

Washington began air raids in Syria in 2014, a year before USA ground troops moved in to fight the ISIL group and train Syrian rebels in the war-ravaged country.

The move comes after US President Donald Trump's surprise announcement on Wednesday of the withdrawal of American troops stationed in northeastern Syria alongside Kurdish fighters, a long-time enemy of Turkey.

Defense Secretary General Jim Mattis also resigned over Trump's announcement, while Middle Eastern allies fighting the Islamic States (or ISIS) with USA and European support have objected to the president's sudden move, raising concerns that it will embolden the extremist organization.

"Our troops are coming home!"

"On Wednesday, White House spokesperson, Sarah Sanders, however, also said in a statement that, "These victories over ISIS in Syria do not signal the end of the coalition or its campaign", adding, 'We have started returning the United States troops home as we transition to the next phase of this campaign".

The Arabic-language al-Manar newspaper reported on Sunday that forces from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and other nations of the so-called axis of moderation had been deployed to the east of Euphrates River in Syria, adding that the move came in coordination with the United States and France. "Mattis understood this", Macron said during a trip to Chad.

In his remarks Macron also paid tribute to Defense Secretary James Mattis, who announced he was resigning on Thursday after Trump told the world about his Syria U-turn. Mattis wrote in his resignation letter that Trump should choose a replacement "whose views are better aligned with yours".

He submitted his resignation three days ago in protest of the president's decision to withdraw US troops from Syria, which has strained relations with worldwide allies. They are now engaged with American special forces alongside the SDF in the mid-Euphrates valley, where an offensive has been underway since early September against 2,000 to 8,000 IS fighters, most of whom fled from Raqqa and Mosul when those cities fell.

He said: "I call on everyone not to forget what we owe them".

Netanyahu spoke with Trump on the phone last Thursday about the USA military withdrawal from Syria.

Turkey however welcomed the Trump's decision.

Ankara considers the US-backed YPG a terrorist group and an extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged attacks on Turkish soil since the 1980s as they sought autonomy.

Erdogan has repeatedly threatened to order his army and 15,000 Syrian surrogate fighters to clear the border zone of Kurdish paramilitaries from the People's Protection Units (YPG).

Kurdish militia groups were particularly dismayed by Mr Trump's decision. But the partnership had soured relations between Ankara and Washington.

Turkey had since made multiple attempts to capture the region, but USA troops in the area provided an obstacle. But Ankara says the USA and the Kurdish militia didn't live up to their end of the deal and that it would start an offensive in eastern Syria to drive out the militia.

Erdogan said, "I hope that our meeting will be beneficial for our countries and our region".

Washington and Arab allies, the newspaper said, claim that such moves would diminish the perceived threat posed by the presence of Iranian military advisers and Lebanon's Hezbollah resistance movement in Syria.



Other news