Posted on January 7, 2019
John Bolton added that Turkey needed to assure the safety of Kurdish fighters allied with the United States in the area. Mr Bolton, who is in Israel to reassure the US ally of the Trump-ordered withdrawal, says there is no timetable for the pullout of American forces in north-eastern Syria, but insists it is not an unlimited commitment. Mr Bolton said that “the timetable flows from the policy decisions that we need to implement”. His comments mark the first public confirmation that the withdrawal has been slowed. President Trump’s announcement that the US would withdraw all its troops in Syria faced widespread criticism.
It led to the resignation of Defense Secretary General James Mattis, who said in his resignation letter “you (President Trump) have a right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours”. President Trump’s plans raised fears over clearing the way for a Turkish assault on Kurdish fighters in Syria who fought alongside American troops against IS. Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG, a terrorist group linked to an insurgency within its own borders.
Mr Bolton, who is to travel on to Turkey on Monday, said the US is insisting that its Kurdish allies in the fight against IS are protected from any planned Turkish offensive. “We don’t think the Turks ought to undertake military action that’s not fully coordinated with and agreed to by the United States,” Mr Bolton said. “President Trump has stated that he would “not allow Turkey to kill the Kurds.