Order Signed for U.S. Military's Controversial Syria Exit

Trump ‘open’ to Turkish invitation to meet Erdogan

Trump announced Wednesday that the roughly 2,000 USA troops would leave civil war-racked Syria, where they have been deployed to assist in a multinational fight against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group.

A rebel spokesman said on Monday Turkish-backed Syrian forces had reinforced the area around the town of Manbij, occupied by the Kurdish fighters, in preparation for the USA withdrawal.

"Russia, Iran, Syria & many others are not happy about the USA leaving, despite what the Fake News says, because now they will have to fight ISIS and others, who they hate, without us", Trump added.

Via tweets on Monday, Trump also lashed out at Brett McGurk, the us envoy for the global coalition to defeat the Islamic State (IS), who resigned on Friday following Mattis' announcement to leave.

The move is expected to end USA involvement in the war-torn country and allow Turkey to attack the Syrian Kurdish fighters, who were U.S. allies during the anti-IS war. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in October that the USA would deny aid to the central government in Damascus until a political process was launched to oust Assad, which Washington has accused of war crimes, and forces said to be under Iranian control were expelled.

Erdogan linked his approach to a broader call for security and reconstruction in Syria so that the almost 4 million Syrian refugees in Turkey can return home.

While visiting his troops in Afghanistan, Gen. Robert Neller was asked by a Marine about Trump's recent order to withdraw all troops from Syria and about half from Afghanistan, according to a report by the Journal's Ben Kesling.

"It's certainly not a good thing", she said, noting that "the president of the United States, Donald Trump, is a great friend of Israel, and this administration is, I think, the friendliest administration there's ever been". It will also effectively hand the fight against Islamic State in Syria to Turkey and set Ankara up to broaden its push against the Syrian Kurdish YPG.

"From now on, it will be a free ride for the Iranians and they will use the corridor logistically to enhance their capabilities to build the military forces in Syria and to help Hizballah afterwards", he told AFP. His team often reassured the Kurdish fighters in Syria as well. They are preparing to take Manbij first, he said.

Manbij was at the centre of an agreement the US and Turkey reached in June under which Kurdish forces were to withdraw. In recent weeks Turkey said the USA was dragging its feet in implementing the deal and vowed to launch a new offensive against the Kurds.

Erdogan's office said in a statement he and Trump 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".

Trump has claimed to have defeated IS, but the Kurdish fighters are still battling the extremists in the remote town of Hajin near the Iraqi border.

Yet Israeli officials and analysts have stressed that the Jewish state has long managed that front alone and would continue to do so. "I call on him to return the favor".

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