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Erdogan, Trump to 'coordinate' as US pulls out of Syria

  • 24 Dec 2018

In a phone call between Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump, both sides agree to "coordinate" to prevent a "power vacuum" in war-torn Arab country after US withdrawal.

Turkey's President Erdogan (L) also wished a happy new year to the US President and the American people. ( AA Archive )

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US counterpart Donald Trump agreed in a phone conversation on Sunday to prevent a "power vacuum" in Syria after American ground forces withdraw, the US president and the Turkish presidency said.

"The two leaders 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," the presidency said in a statement.

Earlier in a Twitter post, Trump said the phone conversation with Erdogan was "long and productive".

"We discussed ISIS [Daesh], our mutual involvement in Syria, & the slow & highly coordinated pullout of US troops from the area. After many years they [US troops] are coming home," Trump wrote, using alternate for Daesh.

The duo also discussed "heavily expanded" trade.

In a new Twitter post, late Sunday Trump said his Turkish counterpart very strongly informed him that Turkey will eradicate whatever is left of Daesh in Syria.    

He wrote: "President Erdogan of Turkey has very strongly informed me that he will eradicate whatever is left of ISIS meaning Daesh in Syria .... and he is a man who can do it plus, Turkey is right ''next door.'' Our troops are coming home.   

Turkey ready to offer all kinds of support

For his part, Erdogan said in a Twitter post that two sides "agreed to increase our coordination on many issues, from trade relations to the developments in Syria."

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

Erdogan also stressed Turkey was prepared to provide all kinds of support to the US, its NATO ally, within NATO framework, Turkish presidency said in a statement.

The Turkish president also wished a happy new year to the US president and American people.

US troop withdrawal

Last week, Trump announced plans to withdraw roughly 2,000 US troops from Syria.

Reports suggest US forces will leave within 60 to 100 days.

Trump's decision to pull out of Syria was followed by resignations from US Defense Secretary James Mattis and special presidential envoy for the global coalition to defeat Daesh, Brett Mcgurk.

The withdrawal comes ahead of a possible Turkish military operation in northeastern Syria against the YPG/PKK terrorist group.

Since 2016, Ankara has carried out two similar military operations in northern Syria, which has helped some 300,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey to return home, according to Turkish officials. 

Freedom of Arabs, Kurds in Syria

Turkey pursues the freedom of the Arabs and the Kurds with its presence in Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.

"We consider the security and peace of the Arabs in Syria as our own business. We see the problems of the Kurds as our own,” Erdogan told a ceremony at the Presidential Complex in capital Ankara.

Turkey also regards the security and the peace of the Turkmens as its own business, the president said.

Turkey will not leave Syrian Kurds at the mercy of the terrorist PKK/PYD, as it didn't leave the Arabs to the hands of Daesh terror group, he said.

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