Erdogan invites Trump to Turkey amid Syria pullout


Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu assured the Russian ambassador to Ankara, Alexei Yerkhov, that Turkey would not provide the United States with the opportunity to study S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems, a source in the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

The PKK, which has waged an insurgency against Turkey since 1984, is blacklisted as a terrorist organization by Ankara and its Western allies. The PKK is blacklisted as a terror group by Ankara, the USA and the European Union.

For weeks, Turkey has been threatening to launch a new offensive against the Kurdish fighters, who partnered with the USA to drive the Islamic State group out of much of northern and eastern Syria.

The Five took President Donald Trump to task on Wednesday for the bumbling rollout of his Syria policy, which was announced abruptly last week ahead of his Christmas visit to USA troops deployed in Iraq. In line with the results of these talks, a phone conversation [between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin] may be held. The rebels in question, however, are moving closer to the city of Manbij, which Turkey has indicated will be the first target.

"The reasons for and causes of this decision remain unclear, as does a timeframe for the pull-out of USA troops", said Zakharova.

But he reiterated Israel's intention to prevent "Iranian military entrenchment, which is directed against us" in Syria.

Syrian troops were positioned in areas to the west of Manbij on Tuesday, in anticipation of a potential offensive.

The Syriac Military Council said the global coalition that relied on the SDF to clear territory of ISIS has to "ensure security and protection for religious and ethnic minorities living in North East Syria".

Officials from northern Syria, who went to Moscow last week, will soon make another trip, hoping Russian Federation will push Damascus to "fulfill its sovereign duty", top Kurdish politician Aldar Xelil told Reuters. They also called for French support in assuring the region's peace and stability.

Youssef Hammoud, spokesman for the Syrian National Army (SNA), which is expected to be a core force in a Turkish campaign in eastern Syria, said the return of government forces to the area would trigger "a disaster and a catastrophe" with a new wave of refugees and the displaced people.

Trump's shock order came after Erdogan convinced him that Turkey could eliminate the last remaining pockets of ISIS after the jihadists suffered a series of military defeats.

He subsequently said the United States withdrawal would be coordinated with Turkey, who would take over the reins of the war on ISIS.

Local media said Turkish military vehicles were being amassed along the country's southern border Monday, and some troops had already crossed into Syria, AFP reported.