Pro-Turkish rebels reinforce near city in northern Syria

Cheryl Sanders
December 27, 2018

Trump's abrupt decision to pull troops out of Syria has handed the fight against Islamic State over to Turkey - and effectively given Ankara the green light to push into remaining Kurdish-controlled areas in northern Syria.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told reporters yesterday that he will most probably meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss U.S. withdrawal from Syria as reported on Reuters.

Parts of the convoy have reportedly entered Northern Syria.

Four days later, Trump abruptly announced the USA would immediately withdraw its 2,000 special operators training Syrians and Kurds fighting ISIS in northeastern Syria.

Russia is planning a summit meeting early next year to move the Astana peace process forward in a bid to restore peace in Syria

Ankara regards the YPG as terrorists and has been infuriated by USA support for the group in the fight against Islamic State.

US President Donald Trump announced the planned withdrawal of US forces after a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier this month.

US President Donald Trump abruptly announced the pullout from Syria last week, surprising allies and sparking the resignation of two of his top aides.

Arimah lies between Manbij and the areas liberated in Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield.

The US presence has also been seen by analysts as key to pushing against Iranian and Russian influence. In Turkey, Trumps trigger decision is welcomed.

On December 24, Turkish media reported that Ankara sent reinforcements, including troops and trucks carrying tanks and howitzers, to the border with Syria.

"Official American representatives make it clear that the withdrawal of the army from Syrian territory does not mean an end to the activity by the so-called US-led global coalition in the fight against the IS (Islamic State, a terror organization that is outlawed in Russia - TASS)", the diplomat pointed out.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryakov said Tuesday in an interview with the RIA Novosti news agency that it would be a "big mistake" to dismantle a hotline that Russia and the United States use to prevent potential clashes in Syria, despite the USA withdrawal, and said he sees no indications the Americans would do that.

He told AFP that the offensive would be in line with the "US withdrawal from the region".

The White House confirmed Çavuşoğlu's announcement that Trump has received an invitation to visit Turkey in 2019, although no date has been set for the trip. The YPG/PKK left the control of the town to regime forces.

"Eradicating IS can only happen through a comprehensive strategy that even the current worldwide anti-IS coalition - which is limited to military action without adequate attention to the needed socioeconomic and political aspects of fighting IS - does not possess", she added.

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