Israel calls on U.S. to recognize rule over Golan

Israel calls on U.S. to recognize rule over Golan

Israel calls on U.S. to recognize rule over Golan

Dismantling ISIS has been an important achievement, and has come at a far lower cost compared to other US military engagements in the region.

Bolton also said all 2,000 USA forces may not be withdrawn, AFP reported.

Fighting alongside Arab and Kurdish forces, American troops have been largely successful in pushing back the Islamic State and stabilizing the country, since entering Syria in 2014.

Turkey considers many Kurdish separatist groups - including the People's Protection Units, aka the YPG, which leads the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces - to be terrorist organizations.

Those meetings will follow talks, also focusing on Syria, that Bolton is holding in Israel, where he said the US pullout was conditional on Turkish guarantees in regard to USA -backed Kurdish fighters. The chances of Turkey's President Recep Erdogan agreeing not to attack Kurdish forces in Syria are slim.

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. Erdogan sees all Kurdish forces as terrorists and can not be expected to back off his pledge to attack them. Bolton said the discussion is meant to determine "what the dispensary of the Turkish forces is going to be, how they relate to the opposition, and so on".

That comment built on frictions that flared on Friday after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview the USA wanted to ensure the "Turks don't slaughter the Kurds" once its troops are out of the region.

"There is no doubt that a terror group can not be an ally of the US", Kalin said, according to the news agency.

Trump contended, however, that he did not say the withdrawal would happen immediately and that he is committed to a "slow and coordinated [U.S.] pullout" from Syria.

"The danger, I think, is that in the absence of a hard plan, you get competing fiefdoms", Stein added.

He was to be in Turkey on Monday, accompanied by the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, for talks with government officials.

Bolton will seek assurances from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally that it won't attack the Kurds when the USA withdraws troops from northeastern Syria.

President Donald Trump on December 19 surprised US lawmakers and many military leaders when he announced he would pull all 2,000 USA forces from Syria, where they have been assisting a Kurdish militia in rooting out IS fighters from that country. 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". But Mr Trump seemed to row back last week when he said troops were being pulled out "slowly" and that they would be fighting remaining IS militants at the same time.

A joint statement by the two Republican senators came on the same day that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged John Bolton, the US national security adviser, to recognize Israel's claim to the Golan.

Bolton said there is no timetable for a USA withdrawal, but that the process would not be abrupt.

Plans and assurances offered by Bolton in Israel were additional confirmation that withdrawal plans are on hold until conditions on the ground match the president's stated assessment of the situation in Syria.

Earlier, Bolton paid a visit to East Jerusalem's Western Wall, the most sacred site to Jews. The latter is undoubtedly a gesture to Netanyahu, who would have to ensure that a pullout of American forces and allies in southern Syria didn't give Iran a foothold from which to launch attacks on Israel. Palestinians are concerned that Israelis will use the excavations to further their claim to contested parts of Jerusalem. Mr. Trump himself, however, also toured the area in a previous visit.

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