US Moves in Syria Irk Russia, Turkey

"When the time and place comes the terrorists here will be buried in the ditches they have dug, as was done in previous operations", Akar said in a speech to military personnel at a brigade command center in the province of Sanliurfa, referring to two other cross-border campaigns that Turkey has carried out in Syria.

Turkey and the United States, although North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, are deeply divided over the implementation of President Donald Trump's plan to bring home about 2,000 troops stationed in Syria.

He said the US envoy for Syria, Jim Jeffrey, had traveled to northeast Syria this week and would soon go to Ankara for talks, including on moving forward a UN-led political process to end the eight-year long conflict in Syria. That earned a stiff rebuke from President Tayyip Erdogan.

Washington's top diplomat on Saturday said he was "optimistic" a way could be found to protect Syrian Kurds while allowing Turks to "defend their country from terrorists" despite a United States pullout from Syria.

Pompeo's remarks follow tensions between the U.S. and Turkey over the fate of Washington's allies in the fight against ISIS.

After speaking to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Pompeo said an agreement was a work in progress but can be achieved in a way that allows the Turks to defend their country while leaving alone Kurds who do not pose a threat.

Speaking in Abu Dhabi as part of a regional tour, Pompeo said the withdrawal of USA troops from Syria was a "tactical change" but the mission to destroy Islamic State and counter Iran's influence remained the same.

Fox News reported on Friday citing a U.S. defense official that the US-led coalition in Syria had started the process of withdrawing troops from the region.

She also said the territory previously controlled by the United States should be transferred to the Syrian regime.

Kurdish People's Protection Units, as a terrorist group linked to the Kurdistan Worker's Party which has fought a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state. "After all, the Kurds are an integral part of Syrian society", Zakharova said.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian of France, which is part of the US-led coalition, welcomed what he believed was a slower withdrawal by the United States after pressure from its allies.

Vanessa Coleman

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