Syria conflict: Macron criticises Trump's withdrawal decision

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USA troops have been in Syria working with a Kurdish militia to fight the Islamic State terrorist organization.

"They headed for an area near the Sajur River, between Jarabulus and Manbij, not far from the front lines where Kurdish fighters of the Manbij Military Council are stationed".

Since 2016, Ankara has carried out two similar military operations in northern Syria.

In an abrupt policy shift, Trump announced on Wednesday that Washington would withdraw the roughly 2,000 US troops in Syria, upending a pillar of American policy in the Middle East and alarming USA allies.

Turkey has been restrained from moving into Syria's Kurdish-controlled northeast in the past by the presence of USA troops.

Trump and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke by telephone on Sunday and "agreed to ensure coordination between their countries' military, diplomatic and other officials to avoid a power vacuum which could result following any abuse of the withdrawal and transition phase in Syria", the Turkish presidency said in a statement.

"I just had a long and productive call with President Erdogan of Turkey".

"We discussed ISIS (IS), our mutual involvement in Syria, and the slow and highly coordinated pullout of USA troops from the area", said Trump on his Twitter account, describing the phone conversation as "long and productive".

Soylu also said that more than 250,000 illegal migrants had been caught in Turkey in 2018, without specifying their nationalities, adding that this showed a jump of more than 50 percent from the previous year.

Brett McGurk quit over the "reckless" plan to pull 2,000 troops out of Syria with the President claiming the terrorists had been defeated in their homeland. About 2,000 ISIS fighters remain in Syria, according to State Department and Pentagon officials.

Turkey however welcomed the Trump's decision.

A top IDF goal in recent years, Eizenkot noted, has been to thwart Iran's efforts to export weapons to its regional proxies - including Lebanon-based Hezbollah, which, along with Russian Federation and Iran, has deployed forces in Syria to bolster the Assad regime. Previously, Trump had declared on several occasions, the IS is defeated in Syria completely.

He said the US -led coalition provided airstrikes in support of the Kurdish fighters, who control only 35 percent of the region.

The president has pushed back against his critics, saying he's "done more damage to ISIS than all recent presidents". He said he regrets Trump's pullout decision.

The SDF is dominated by Syrian Kurds, but it also includes Arab forces. France offered to mediate between Turkey and the SDF this year but Turkey rejected dialogue, citing SDF's affiliation with PKK, designated a terrorist group by both Turkey and the U.S. "A US pullout in Syria is a win for ISIS, Iran, Russia, & Assad", tweeted Mike Pregent, an analyst at the Hudson Institute, a USA -based think tank, and former USA army intelligence officer. P-K-K militants have been engaged in a bloody conflict with Turkey for more than three decades.

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