U.S. ground troops will not enforce Syria safe zone: defense secretary




U.S. ground troops will not enforce Syria safe zone: defense secretary
U.S. ground troops will not enforce Syria safe zone: defense secretary  

By Idrees Ali

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Friday that no U.S. troops will take part in enforcing the so-called safe zone in northern Syria and the United States "is continuing our deliberate withdrawal from northeastern Syria."

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan earlier on Friday said Turkey will set up a dozen observation posts across northeast Syria, insisting that a planned "safe zone" will extend much further than U.S. officials said was covered under a fragile ceasefire deal.

The truce, announced by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence after talks in Ankara with Erdogan, sets out a five-day pause to let the Kurdish-led SDF militia pull out of the Turkish "safe zone."

The deal was aimed at easing a crisis that saw President Donald Trump order a hasty and unexpected U.S. retreat, which his critics say amounted to abandoning loyal Kurdish allies that fought for years alongside U.S. troops against Islamic State.

"No U.S. ground forces will participate in the enforcement of the safe zone, however we will remain in communication with both Turkey and the SDF," Esper told reporters, referring to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

He will be traveling to the Middle East and Brussels in the coming days to discuss issues including the future of counter-Islamic State campaign.

Esper said he had spoken with his Turkish counterpart on Friday and reiterated that Ankara must adhere to the ceasefire deal and ensure safety of people in areas controlled by Turkish forces.

"Protecting religious and ethnic minorities in the region continues to be a focus for the administration. This ceasefire is a much needed step in protecting those vulnerable populations," Esper said.

He added that he reminded Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar of Turkey's responsibility for maintaining security of the Islamic State prisoners in areas affected by Turkey's incursion.

A U.S. defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the United States would continue aerial surveillance in northeastern Syria to monitor prisons holding alleged Islamic State militants.


(Reporting by Idrees Ali; editing by Grant McCool and Cynthia Osterman)

COMMENTS

More Related News

Trump says he
Trump says he's 'too busy' to watch impeachment inquiry hearing, but he's tweeting about it

"He's not watching - he's working," White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said. Trump is in fact in the Oval Office, which is not outfitted with TVs

UF students threaten impeachment for Trump Jr.
UF students threaten impeachment for Trump Jr.'s visit

The student body president of the University of Florida is facing an impeachment threat for spending $50,000 in student fees to bring Trump's eldest son and his girlfriend to campus. Members of the university's student senate filed a resolution on Tuesday to impeach Student Body President Michael Murphy

'A particularly inappropriate time': Trump welcomes Turkey's Erdogan despite Syria attack

Trump's meeting with Recep Tayyip Erdogan could be a hornet's nest, provoking bipartisan anger over Trump's decision to withdraw troops from Syria.

Split Supreme Court appears ready to allow Trump to end DACA
Split Supreme Court appears ready to allow Trump to end DACA

Sharply at odds with liberal justices, the Supreme Court's conservative majority seemed ready Tuesday to allow the Trump administration to abolish protections that permit 660,000 immigrants to work in the U.S., free from the threat of deportation. President Donald Trump said on Twitter that DACA

Judge dismisses Trump lawsuit against NY officials, House committee over taxes
Judge dismisses Trump lawsuit against NY officials, House committee over taxes

A federal judge on Monday issued another blow to President Donald Trump and his ongoing effort to avoid having his tax records turned over to Congress. U.S. Judge Carl Nichols granted a motion to dismiss a lawsuit that Trump filed in July over the TRUST Act in New York, which gave Congress the authority to retrieve tax information from New York residents.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America