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

Bolton Was Concerned That Trump Did Favors for Autocratic Leaders, Book Says
Bolton Was Concerned That Trump Did Favors for Autocratic Leaders, Book Says
  • World
  • 2020-01-28 13:16:18Z

WASHINGTON -- John Bolton, the former national security adviser, privately told Attorney General William Barr last year that he had concerns that President Donald Trump was effectively granting personal favors to the autocratic leaders of Turkey and China, according to an unpublished manuscript by Bolton.Barr responded by pointing to a pair of Justice Department investigations of companies in those countries and said he was worried that Trump had created the appearance that he had undue influence over what would typically be independent inquiries, according to the manuscript. Backing up his point, Barr mentioned conversations Trump had with the leaders, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of...

Trump Call
Trump Call 'Less Than Perfect,' Defense Says: Impeachment Update

(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump's defense lawyers resume their presentation at 1 p.m. Monday after opening their arguments Saturday by saying House managers failed to prove the president should be removed from office.Here are the latest developments:Trump Call 'Less Than Perfect,' Defense Says (7:45 p.m.)Former independent counsel Robert Ray said Trump's July 25 call with Ukraine's president was "less than perfect," but that doesn't mean it's an impeachable abuse of power.It would have been better for Trump to have pursued an investigation "through proper channels," said Ray, a member of Trump's legal team."While the president certainly enjoys the power to do otherwise, there is consequence...

Fox News Anchor Chris Wallace Tears Into Conservative Pundit:
Fox News Anchor Chris Wallace Tears Into Conservative Pundit: 'Get Your Facts Straight!'

Sparks flew Monday on the Fox News set between Fox News anchor Chris Wallace and conservative contributor Katie Pavlich, with Wallace demanding his colleague get her "facts straight" after Pavlich insisted that certain witnesses had not been called in the impeachment trial.Moments before President Donald Trump's defense team began its arguments in the Senate impeachment trial, Pavlich noted during Fox's pregame coverage that while Republican senators are now weighing whether to call former National Security Adviser John Bolton following his bombshell claims, the House should have presented a more thorough case."The Senate is not the House, the House did not come with a complete case, and...

Democrats demand Bolton testify after NYT report Trump directly told him Ukraine aid tied to investigations
Democrats demand Bolton testify after NYT report Trump directly told him Ukraine aid tied to investigations

President Donald Trump told John Bolton he wanted to freeze military aid to Ukraine until it investigated his Democratic rivals, a report said.

Senate should remove Trump, majority of independent voters say in Fox News poll
Senate should remove Trump, majority of independent voters say in Fox News poll

Overall, 50% of registered voters said in a Fox News poll that President Trump should be convicted and removed in the Senate; 44% said he should not.

Leave a Comment

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

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America