Ex-NATO Official Suspects Erdogan Blackmailed Trump Over US Exit From Syria

Israel Uneasy Amid Reports That Trump 'Surrendered' Syria to Turkey

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and USA counterpart Donald Trump agreed in a phone conversation on Sunday to prevent a "power vacuum" in Syria after American ground forces withdraw, the U.S. president and the Turkish presidency said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has signaled that a cross-border operation against the terrorist PYD/YPG in Syria will happen soon.

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.

Trump tweeted on Sunday that he had a "long and productive" call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in which they discussed "the slow & highly coordinated" pullout of USA troops from the area.

For the past week Erdogan has threatened to launch a full-scale cross border assault on USA -backed Kurdish forces in Syria, which Turkey has long considered a terrorist extension of the outlawed PKK.

Kalin said there would be further talks between the two countries' foreign ministries and other departments including a meeting planned in Washington on Jan 8.

"We discussed ISIS, our mutual involvement in Syria, and the slow and highly coordinated pullout of USA troops from the area", Trump said in a tweet on Sunday, referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group.

Trump's surprise decision to withdraw troops from Syria was also announced last week after a call with Erdogan.

Hammoud, spokesman for the Turkey-backed Syrian opposition forces, said their fighters and weapons were deploying on the front line with Manbij, a Kurdish-administered town in northern Syria where US troops are based.

The U.S. leader tweeted that Erdogan had told him Ankara would "eradicate" the last IS elements.

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U.S. President Trump has begun what will be a total withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, declaring on Wednesday they have succeeded in their mission to defeat Islamic State and were no longer needed in the country.

Ahmed, the senior Syrian Kurdish official, had just returned from a trip to France in which she called on Paris to play a larger role in Syria following the US withdrawal.

"We are transitioning primary responsibility for the defeat of the few remaining ISIS remnants in Syria to our allies and partners on the ground inside Syria", a USA administration official told VOA Friday, using an acronym for the Islamic State group.

He added: "Turkey will show the same determination against Daesh".

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters that "if Turkey says it will enter, it will", in comments carried by private DHA news agency.

"We consider the security and peace of the Arabs in Syria as our own business".

Trump said last month he was not considering extraditing Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey blames for a failed 2016 coup, as part of efforts to ease Turkish pressure on Saudi Arabia over the killing of Khashoggi.

The two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have come to an agreement on several issues that have divided them in recent years - chiefly, USA support for Kurdish-led militias in Syria, and Turkey's two-year-long detention of United States citizen, pastor Andrew Brunson.

Under the Manbij roadmap, Turkey and the United States agreed to a complete withdrawal of the Kurdish YPG militia from the town.

But relations between the Turkish and American leaders appear to have improved substantially since a crisis in the summer over the detention of a USA pastor, since released.

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