Turkey hits back at Trump threats over Kurds

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The apparent vacillation has irked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who last week warned his troops would launch an attack on northern Syria, even if Americans remain in the area.

Trump also threatened to "devastate" Turkey economically if Ankara attacked US-allied Kurds in Syria.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is on a whirlwind regional tour aimed at reassuring allies amid rising tensions between the US and Turkey over the fate of Washington's Syrian Kurdish allies in the fight against ISIS.

USA national security adviser John Bolton suggested last week that protection for Washington's Kurdish allies would be a precondition of the USA withdrawal.

But the Syrian Democratic Forces-which have proved to be the most effective force against ISIS in the country-are dominated by the Kurdish People's' Protection Units (YPG).

Bali said ISIS fighters "realize that this battle is the battle to eliminate them".

Ankara has repeatedly threatened a new cross-border operation against the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which have been working closely with the United States in the war on IS jihadists.

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"We are trying to create an orderly, successful, deliberate departure of our forces".

Turkey has said the USA administration has been incoherent about the withdrawal process since Trump's announcement as well as in its approach to different "terrorist groups".

"We have said repeatedly we are not scared of and will not be intimidated by any threats", Cavusoglu said in televised remarks from the capital.

Since Trump's December 19 withdrawal announcement, Turkey has renewed threats to launch an offensive into northeastern Syria against the Syrian Kurdish YPG (People's Protection Units), the main fighting force within the US -backed SDF.

Mr. Trump's tweet drew a sharp response from Ankara and the Turkish lira lost some 0.84 percent of its value against the dollar on Monday following the USA president's threat. "We also benefit but it is now time to bring our troops back home".

While Mr Trump could dial up tariffs on Turkey or use unilateral sanctions again, the move could backfire, said Steven Cook of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Earlier Monday, Trump on Twitter said the USA was starting a "long overdue" pullout from Syria and Washington would strike from a nearby existing base if Daesh started to re-form.

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The Kurds have sought Russian meditation for the talks with President Bashar al-Assad's government, part of their strategy to fill a vacuum that will be left when USA forces withdraw.

In the absence of congressional oversight, unelected bureaucrats have been privately feuding to determine how to carry out Trump's decision to pull all USA troops out of the country.

This comes at a time when United States troops are being pulled out of Syria.

"Terrorists can't be your partners & allies".

Trump and Erdogan also discussed "ongoing cooperation" in Syria, Sanders said.

Mr Brunson was released in October 2018 after spending two years in jail mainly because the USA vowed to lift crippling sanctions on two Turkish ministers and increased tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium which its imposed on Ankara in the summer of that year amid growing frustrations over his case.

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