A convoy of armoured personnel carriers in Syria's northern city of Manbij. 30 Dec 2018

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AFP

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The US has an estimated 2,000 troops in northern Syria

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he’s optimistic an settlement may be reached with Turkey to guard Kurdish fighters in Syria after the US leaves.

He was talking within the United Arab Emirates following a cellphone name along with his Turkish counterpart.

US forces in northern Syria have fought alongside a Kurdish militia in opposition to Islamic State (IS) militants.

Turkey, nevertheless, regards the Individuals’s Safety Items (YPG) as a terrorist group and has vowed to crush it.

Mr Pompeo is touring the Center East to attempt to reassure allies following President Donald Trump’s abrupt announcement final month that US forces would withdraw from Syria.

Speaking to reporters in Abu Dhabi, Mr Pompeo mentioned the US recognised “the Turkish folks’s proper and [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan’s proper to defend their nation from terrorists”.

“We additionally know that these preventing alongside us for all this time need to be protected as nicely,” he mentioned.

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Reuters

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Mike Pompeo was greeted by Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan throughout his Center East tour

Mr Pompeo mentioned he had spoken to Turkish International Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, including: “Many particulars (are) nonetheless to be labored out however I am optimistic that we are able to obtain final result.”

What has Turkey mentioned?

Final week, President Erdogan angrily rejected calls by US Nationwide Safety Adviser John Bolton for the Kurdish fighters to be protected.

He mentioned such statements had been “unacceptable”.

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AFP

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President Erdogan has threatened a army assault to defeat the YPG in northern Syria

Mr Erdogan advised MPs from his governing Justice and Growth Social gathering that the US didn’t know who the varied Kurdish teams had been, including: “If the US evaluates them as ‘Kurdish brothers’ then they’re in a critical delusion.”

Mr Bolton was on a go to to Ankara to hunt ensures over the Kurdish fighters, however President Erdogan declined to fulfill him.

Turkey considers the YPG an extension of the banned Kurdistan Employees’ Social gathering (PKK), which has fought for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey for 3 many years. The YPG denies any direct organisational hyperlinks to the PKK.

US seeks united entrance in opposition to Iran

Evaluation by Barbara Plett Usher, BBC Information, Riyadh

This dispute with Turkey over America’s Kurdish allies has overshadowed Mr Pompeo’s sweeping Center East journey.

Mr Pompeo actually needs to show the main target to countering Iran. He’s calling for a united Arab entrance in opposition to what he describes as its destabilising exercise and Saudi Arabia is vital to that.

However outrage over the Saudi murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi has sophisticated the connection. A senior US official mentioned the Individuals needed the Saudis to offer a extra credible rationalization of what occurred and do extra to punish the killers, and Mr Pompeo would press them on each factors.

Why is the US withdrawing from Syria?

In 2014, militants overran 100,000 sq km (39,000 sq miles) of Syria and neighbouring Iraq, and imposed their brutal rule on virtually eight million folks. Now, they management only one% of the territory they as soon as had.

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Media captionIs this the Islamic State group’s final stand in Syria?

Nevertheless, the defeat of IS is way from closing. A US defence division report estimated in August that there may be as many as 14,000 jihadists left in Syria and 17,000 in Iraq.

President Trump consequently shocked allies and confronted robust criticism at house final month when he ordered US forces to instantly start withdrawing from the roughly 30% of Syria managed by the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance.

Mr Bolton later laid out a number of situations for the withdrawal, which prompt that the four-month schedule agreed by Mr Trump may slip.

He advised reporters in Israel that it will be accomplished in a approach that assured IS “is defeated and isn’t in a position to revive itself”, and that the US would “maintain those that have fought with us in opposition to [IS] and different terrorist teams”.

What’s the US presence in Syria?

About 2,000 US army personnel are reported to be deployed in Syria.

Floor troops first arrived in autumn 2015 when then-President Barack Obama despatched in a small variety of particular forces to coach and advise YPG fighters.

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Media captionWas Trump proper to say IS is crushed?

The US did this after a number of makes an attempt at coaching and arming Syrian Arab insurgent teams to battle IS militants descended into chaos.

Over the intervening years the variety of US troops in Syria has elevated, and a community of bases and airfields has been established in an arc throughout the north-eastern a part of the nation.