US Security Advisor: US Withdrawal From Syria Conditional

Last month USA president Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of around 2,000 soldiers from Syria, deployed to support the SDF, claiming Daesh had been defeated.

John Bolton made the pledge on Sunday hours after conditioning the U.S. troop pullout from Syria on the defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS), as well as assurances from Turkey over the safety of Kurdish fighters allied with the US.

But while Bolton's comments may have come as a relief to some, a top House Democrat stressed that the priorities the national security adviser outlined were "obvious" - and simply highlighted how risky Trump's initial withdrawal announcement was. We're going to be removing our troops.

"Our boys, our young women, our men, they're all coming back, and they're coming back now", Trump said in a video declaring victory over ISIS on December 19, as reports began to surface that he would withdraw troops from both Syria and Afghanistan.

American officials claim that the withdrawal of more than 2,000 troops will take from 60 to 100 days.

"We will continue to work with partners and allies to ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS through sustaining military gains and promoting regional security and stability", Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. "I've discussed this with the president".

Bolton's comments mark the first public confirmation that the withdrawal has been slowed.

He noted that Turkey is the only North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member which is countering the terror group PKK and its Syrian branches of PYD and YPG, as well as other terrorists of Daesh and FETO.

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.

US President Donald Trump's decision last month to leave Syria has exposed the Kurdish group to possible Turkish attacks.

In this December 13, 2018 file photo, National Security Adviser John Bolton unveils the Trump Administration's Africa Strategy at the Heritage Foundation in Washington.

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The move shocked U.S. allies and American defence officials alike, with USA defence secretary Jim Mattis and a top United States official in the fight against IS, Brett McGurk, resigning soon after.

As part of his announcement, Trump said the United States had "defeated Isis" there - a claim that his advisers and political allies have disputed.

Clark, who went by the alias Abu Muhammad al-Ameriki, was reportedly one of at least 64 Americans from 16 states who had traveled to Iraq and Syria since 2011 to join jihadi groups, mainly ISIS. In meetings with Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and other officials, they are expected to warn against an offensive targeting the Kurdish fighters in Syria.

In comments carried by the official Anadolu news agency, Ibrahim Kalin said the Kurdish fighters oppressed Syrian Kurds and pursued a separatist agenda under the guise of fighting IS.

"That a terror organisation can not be allied with the USA is self-evident", he said.

Bolton's visit was part of a U.S. effort to reassure allies after Trump's announcement.

Bolton said USA troops would remain at the critical area of al-Tanf, in southern Syria, to counter growing Iranian activity in the region. 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".

In this March 31, 2018 photo, a Syrian woman with her kids walks in front of buildings that were destroyed during a battle between the US -backed Syrian Democratic Forces fighters and ISIL militants in Manbij, north Syria.

Bolton has urged Kurdish allies not to seek protection from Russian Federation or Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government.

Some 300 Americans tried to leave or did leave the U.S.to fight in Iraq or Syria since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, the report said, citing the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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