Turkish, US foreign ministers discuss Syria on phone

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo left and his wife Susan disembark from their plane as they arrive at Abu Dhabi International Airport in Abu Dhabi

Pompeo Says The U.S. Troop Withdrawal From Syria Is Just A 'Tactical Change'

Islamic State militants are "living their final moments" in the last enclave they hold in Syria, near the Iraqi border, where the USA -backed Syrian Democratic Forces have stepped up their attacks in the last two days, an SDF official told Reuters on Sunday.

The delay has restricted Turkey's ability to launch an offensive against the YPG, a group of Kurdish fighters it considers terrorists, but who served as allies to the USA coalition to defeat Islamic State.

Ankara sees the backbone of that alliance, the YPG, as a terrorist group linked to the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK), which has fought a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state.

"Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds", Trump continued.

Trump's decision to call back USA troops in Syria, who were first deployed in 2015, was followed a day later by the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who wrote a letter to the president saying he had the right to have a secretary of defense "whose views are better aligned with yours".

United States national security adviser John Bolton suggested on Tuesday that protecting Washington's Kurdish allies would be a precondition of the U.S. withdrawal.

The Syrian government hopes dialogue with Syrian Kurdish groups will intensify, a minister said on Sunday, signalling support for talks the Kurds hope will lead to a political deal between two of the main players in the multi-sided war. He proposed creating a 20-mile safe zone to protect the Kurds.

"We have operated with impressive success in thwarting Iran from establishing a military foothold in Syria, in the framework of which the military has struck hundreds of times against Iranian and Hezbollah targets", Netanyahu said.

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Erdogan has said his military is prepared to attack swaths of Syria under the control of the Kurdish People's Protection Units. "Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms", the President tweeted on Sunday.

"Russia, Iran and Syria have been the biggest beneficiaries of the long term United States policy of destroying ISIS in Syria - natural enemies".

"We also know that those who aren't terrorists, those who were fighting alongside of us for all this time deserve to be protected as well", Pompeo said.

Mr Pompeo said the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria was a "tactical change" but the mission to destroy Islamic State and counter Iran's influence remained the same.

"Stop the ENDLESS WARS!" he added.

Around 2,000 civilians remain trapped in the area around the town of Hajin.

A spokesman for the US -led coalition said the SDF were making "great progress ... but the fight continues".

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