Turkey deploys troops near Kurdish stronghold in Syria

James Mattis with US President Donald Trump

The influx of Turkish military forces came after the U.S. President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that the U.S. military was preparing for a full withdrawal from Syria, pulling about about 2,000 service members from the country.

A decision by US President Donald Trump to withdraw his troops from Syria has emboldened Turkey to press-ahead with plans to clear Manbij of Kurdish forces and now preparations are being put in place to launch a battle once US troops withdraw.

Trump justified the move with an early-morning tweet claiming that the USA defeated the Islamic State in Syria (ISIS).

But Trump didn't mention the 10,000 Kurdish troops who were fighting alongside the US-backed coalition against the Islamic State and who may now be vulnerable to attack from Turkish forces once the American military presence is removed.

Since then Turkey has repeatedly vowed to capture Manbij, but USA troops in the region were a major obstacle to carrying out a military operation.

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

Turkey, with support from the FSA, carried out two cross-border operations in northern Syria, dubbed "Euphrates Shield" and "Olive Branch", against the YPG and IS.

Lindsey Graham, one of several top Republicans who panned Trump's move, the official said critics were entitled to their opinions.

"So to pull the plug-it's just hard to understand", Corker said of Trump's decision to pull US forces from Syria.

Trump throws Kabul, New Delhi under the bus with Afghan withdrawal move
It is unknown if Trump has set plans for these further troop withdrawal or if it's just something he is strongly considering. In addition, some 8,000 troops from 38 other countries in Resolute Support provide training and support for Afghan forces.

Mattis' reasons for leaving were more than just about Afghanistan or Syria, said Rogers.

"An ally must be reliable, to coordinate with its other allies", Macron said. "Mattis understood this", Macron said during a trip to Chad.

Turkey has long criticized the US for training and arming the YPG, which it says is linked to domestic terrorists it has fought for more than three decades.

The president spent much of Monday tweeting, including 10 tweets in four hours on a variety of subjects, including the government shut down, funding for his border wall, the resignation/firing of Defense Secretary James Mattis, and Syria. According to the deal, the Kurdish militia would withdraw from Manbij and US and Turkish troops would patrol the area, as a new administration for the mixed Arab-Kurdish town is elected.

The convoys are crossing into area controlled by the Free Syrian Army (FSA), a Turkish ally, and are heading to the frontlines of Manbij, TRT World said.

All troops are expected to be out of the country within 60 to 100 days.

Turkey will not leave Syrian Kurds at the mercy of the terrorist PKK/PYD, as it didn't leave the Arabs to the hands of the Daesh terror group, he said.

Darwish dismissed the claims as "untrue", calling them "old accusations" from the rival Syrian groups.

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