January 12, 2019 / 12:19 AM
US willing to talk to Russia about need to defend Syrian Kurds: official

The United States is open to having conversations with Russia about the need to ensure that Kurdish forces do not suffer after US troops withdraw from Syria, National Security Adviser John Bolton said in an interview on Friday.

"The Kurds are in a very difficult position, and the President [Donald Trump], as he spoke with President Erdogan, thinks that they were loyal to us, and we must make sure that they’re not harmed," Bolton told the Hugh Hewitt radio show. "We’d talk to the Russians about it, too, if need be."

Bolton explained that Trump has asked Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan to be particularly careful about those Kurds who have helped the United States fight terrorist groups in the region. Turkey made such a commitment, Bolton said, but the situation has since changed and became more complicated.

Consequently, the United States continues military-to-military talks with Turkey and hopes to make progress on the matter, Bolton added.

Bolton's interview comes nearly a month after Trump declared that the Islamic State (IS) in Syria has been defeated and decided to withdraw US troops from the country.

The Trump administration later changed its approach from an immediate pull out to a gradual and condition-based withdrawal, and the uncertainty the changes among US partners in the region have prompted new discussions on the further steps on resolving the Syrian crisis.

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