Tensions between US and Turkey at new high over Syria

Tensions between US and Turkey at new high over Syria

On Tuesday, the United States National Security Advisor John Bolton met Turkish officials to discuss the US President Donald Trump’s plan of its troops’ withdrawal from Syria and Turkey’s military role after the US pullout.  But the talks tensed up when Bolton put out another proposal of the plan i.e. demanding Ankara’s assurance of not attacking Kurdish Syrian forces who have fought with US against ISIS. The Turkish officials lambasted the proposal. Bolton left without meeting Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

In more than two hour meeting with Turkish officials, Bolton put across 5 key points of US withdrawal action plan including the proposal of safety of Syrian Kurds after US forces vacate the land. Bolton also insisted Ankara not to carry any operation unless it was approved by and coordinated with the U.S.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin rebuked Bolton for putting forward such a demand of guaranteeing the safety of Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria. Kalin said, “John Bolton has made a very serious mistake. We cannot make any concessions in this regard.”

Turkey publically slamming US demands and said that it would not seek permission of its allies to conduct an operation against a terrorist group, hinting at Syrian Kurdish fighters, but was willing to coordinate operations.

Turkey considers those forces as branch of militant Kurdish insurgent and describes them as terrorists. Clearing Turkey’s stand over the issue Kalin told media, “Nobody should expect Turkey to provide assurances to a terror organization.”

Bolton’s attempt to clarify US withdrawal policy backfired as the discussions between the two nations concluded on a rough note. It made US rethink about the hastiness and pace of executing the drawdown plan. The rebuke from its NATO ally raised serious concern among US officials about how would it protect Syrian Kurds from the attacks from IS.

Trump announced 100 percent pull out of US forces from the northern Syria last month, a decision which received severe criticism from US top defence aides and military officials along with international leaders. Trump advocated the decision by stating that US has defeated IS in Syria.