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US Syria withdrawal must be done with allies' defence 'assured': Bolton

US Syria withdrawal must be done with allies' defence 'assured': Bolton

White House National Security Advisor John Bolton says the withdrawal of American forces from Syria will happen only if the safety of Israel and other U-S allies is guaranteed.

Asked about the authority to maintain USA forces at al-Tanf in Syria, Bolton said: "There's plenty of legal justification about concern for the resurgence of Isis", Bolton said.

During talks in Israel on Sunday, Bolton said the USA withdrawal is "conditional" on assurances from Turkey it would not attack America's Kurdish allies.

Bolton, on a trip to Israel and Turkey, said he would stress in talks with Turkish officials, including President Tayyip Erdogan, that Kurdish forces must be protected.

"I'm going to follow what the president said", Bolton added during the press conference.

His move has raised fears over clearing the way for a Turkish assault on Kurdish fighters in Syria who fought alongside American troops against IS extremists.

There are few peoples or nations in the Middle East more deserving of national self-determination and statehood than the Kurds: a people of 35 million who respect the rights of minorities, treat women as equals, eschew terrorism and anti-semitism, and have been a steadfast force for stability in the Middle East and western security partner for several decades. The White House announced last month that ISIS had been defeated in Syria and the USA would withdraw 2,000 troops from the war-stricken nation. "I think they know who their friends are", Bolton said, referring to the Kurds.

Syrian Kurds, who have fought ISIS alongside American forces, fear an attack from Turkey when the US withdraws.

Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Turkey's targets are the YPG, the PKK and IS.

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'We don't want the Assad's regime to consider our steps as a weakening of our disagreement with the use of weapons of mass destruction, while we are thinking about how the withdrawal will proceed and under what circumstances, ' Bolton claimed during his fly to Tel Aviv, Interfax reports.

President Donald Trump has faced strong criticism over the planned U.S. pullout. Officials said at the time that although many details of the withdrawal had not yet been finalized, they expected American forces to be out by mid-January.

Trump touched off global confusion and panic when he announced via Twitter on December 19 that he would order the withdrawal of the 2,000 troops stationed in Syria to help fight the Islamic State.

Bolton maintained there is no fixed timetable for completing the drawdown, but insisted it was not an indefinite commitment to the region.

Bolton acknowledged that pockets of the Islamic State remain undefeated and that a quick U.S. pullout could endanger USA partners and allies in the region, as well as USA forces themselves.

He said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford would continue negotiations with his Turkish counterparts this week to seek protection for America's Kurdish allies in Syria.

Bolton, who will travel to Turkey on Monday, said the U.S. will talk to Ankara to find out what its objectives and capabilities are.

Bolton's comments come amid reports that Trump had agreed to extend his initial 30-day deadline for withdrawal to four months.

Russian Federation and Iran back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. "They said again, recently, 'Can we have more time?' " Trump said of United States generals.