January 9, 2019 / 04:23 PM
Bolton warns Turkey not to mistreat Syrian Kurds: official

US National Security Adviser John Bolton told his Turkish counterpart on Tuesday, January 8, that the United States would oppose any mistreatment by Turkish forces of its Kurdish allies in Syria, a senior US official said.

Bolton met his Turkish counterpart Ibrahim Kalin as well as the deputy defense and foreign ministers, while on a quick tour to the region to manage fallout from US President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision on Syria.

Bolton made the case to Turkish officials for the need for guarantees that US-backed Kurdish fighters in the campaign against Islamic State (IS) would not be harmed after a US withdrawal, the senior official said.

Bolton did not consider himself to have been snubbed by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s refusal to meet him during a visit to Turkey because plans for talks between the two had not been confirmed, the official told reporters traveling with Bolton.

According to Reuters Bolton also told the Turkish officials the US withdrawal would be done in a deliberate and orderly fashion and that at this point the United States had no plans to abandon its Syria base at al-Tanf near the Iraqi border, the senior official added.

Erdogan rebuked Bolton for demanding that his country not attack Kurdish fighters in Syria, accusing him of complicating President Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw U.S. troops.

Before arriving in Turkey, Bolton said Turkey must coordinate military action with the United States and no U.S. withdrawal would take place until Ankara guaranteed the Kurdish fighters would be safe.

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