Macron says ‘an ally must be reliable after US Syria pullout announcement

April FrancisDec 25, 2018

US President Donald Trump says the withdrawal of US troops from Syria will be "slow and highly coordinated".

The announcement that U.S. troops would leave the civil war-racked country - where they have been deployed to assist in the multinational fight against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group - shocked global partners and American politicians alike.

Trump in a Twitter video posting on December 19 declared that "we have won" against the Islamic State (IS) terror group operating in Syria and made the surprise announcement he was bringing home all USA forces from the war-torn country.

An American pullout would allow Turkish troops to move against the hardened Kurdish fighters in Syria deemed terrorists by the Ankara regime - but who have strongly supported U.S. efforts there.

A handout picture released by the Turkish Presidential Palace Press Office shows Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) posing with US President Donald Trump during the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on December 1, 2018.

The two leaders reportedly agree to coordinate to prevent an authority vacuum from developing as the withdrawal process begins.

Later in the day, the United States president said that getting out of Syria was no surprise and he has been campaigning for it for years.

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

Turkey has carried out two operations in Syria, dubbed "Euphrates Shield" and "Olive Branch", against the YPG and the Islamic State in northern Syria.

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Turkey began reinforcing its positions on both sides of its border with Syria on Sunday (December 23), as Ankara and Washington agreed to co-ordinate a USA withdrawal from Syria.

"The execute order for Syria has been signed", a Defence Department spokesman said in an email to Reuters that provided no operational details.

"To be an ally is to fight shoulder to shoulder", Macron said, adding that France was doing just that in Chad against al-Qaeda and other extremist groups.

23 Dec Turkey has started to strengthen its positions near the border with Syria in connection with US plans to withdraw from the conflict zone its forces.

Allies around the world have been stunned by Mattis' departure, having seen the former general as a reliable supporter of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and other long-standing partnerships.

He said the USA -led coalition provided airstrikes in support of the Kurdish fighters, who control only 35 percent of the region. "The SDF is fighting against the terrorism that fomented attacks against Paris and elsewhere".

Earlier this year, the Saudis promised the president $100 million for American efforts to stabilize Syria.

The pullout in Syria was announced at a time when Kurds were engaged in a major offensive, said Rogers, and once that was complete, it would have added to more stability in syria.

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

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