Erdogan invites Trump to visit Turkey

Erdogan invites Trump to visit Turkey

Turkey on Tuesday warned France against protecting a US-backed Kurdish militia in Syria and said Ankara's military was strong enough to defeat ISIS on its own after American troops pull out.

Those threats and a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week appear to have triggered Trump's decision to withdraw the US forces based in Syria. This is the two leaders' second phone conversation in 10 days. Our troops are coming home!

Sunday's "long and productive" phone conversation between the two leaders tackled the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria.

According to Erdogan's spokesman, Washington's decision was heavily influenced by Ankara's commitment to target Kurdish "terrorists" in Syria.

"Yesterday units from the Syrian National Army headed towards the Manbij front and took preliminary positions [in preparation] for the battle", Major Youssef Hamoud, the spokesman for the Turkish-backed National Army, told Reuters. The Observatory said 50 vehicles crossed into Syria - carrying troops and equipment.

US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw all 2,000 ground forces from Syria has stunned most allies, including France, but was applauded by the Turkish government.

The development comes after Turkey said President Trump had accepted an invitation from Erdogan to visit the country early next year.

The last pockets of IS are in fact in eastern and central Syria, hundreds of kilometers away from the northern areas of the country which the Turkish military and Syrian rebels are accustomed to and where they led two offensives in 2016 and 2018.

"We discussed ISIS, our mutual involvement in Syria, & the slow & highly coordinated pullout of USA troops from the area".

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Turkey has welcomed Trump's decision.

Trump made what many see as an impulsive decision after Erdogan reportedly assured him that Turkish forces would mop up what remains of ISIS and other radical jihadist groups in Syria.

"We should not forget. what we owe to those who died on the ground fighting terrorism", he said, referring to the SDF.

Macron did not say what France's military will do next in Syria.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Tuesday that preparations for an offensive in the eastern bank of the Euphrates River against Kurdish YPG militants are proceeding as planned.

Turkey's fears about Kurdish militia were partly allayed by a deal reached in June over Manbij. USA and Turkish forces had been conducting joint patrols around Manbij, and the US set up a series of observation posts in the areas last month to help ease tensions.

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

The invitation comes just days after Trump made the controversial decision to withdraw American troops from Syria, where they have been deployed to assist in the worldwide war against the Islamic State jihadist group.

Youssef Hammoud, spokesperson for the Syrian opposition fighters, accused the USA -backed Kurdish militia of reaching out to the Syrian government to replace US troops if they withdraw.