Turkey bolsters troops in Kurdish areas of northern Syria: war monitor

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks at a pro-Palestinian rally in Istanbul on May 18, 2018.

The Syrian Kurdish forces, critics said, have been valuable allies in a yearslong fight with the Islamic State but now are being abruptly abandoned.

But Ankara says the USA and the Kurdish YPG fighters didn't live up to their end of the deal and that it would start an offensive in eastern Syria to drive out the militia.

Ankara considers the US-backed YPG a "terrorist" group and an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged attacks on the Turkish soil since the 1980s in demand for autonomy.

"I think the step to suddenly withdraw those troops from Syria has sent a awful message to the world about where the United States stands", Panetta said.

Paris has strongly criticized US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw US forces, arguing that the IS fight is not over.

"An ally should be reliable, co-ordinate with other allies".

IS, who once controlled large areas of Iraq and Syria, are now confined to a small amount of territory around Hajin. "We will intensify them, and I know that we do so with the full support and backing of the United States".

France, a leading member of the US-led coalition, has said it would keep troops in Syria.

What has Mr Macron said?

"The withdrawal of the USA from Syria significantly raises the chance of an all-out conflict in the north - both in Lebanon and Syria", he told Israel Radio.

The special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, Brett McGurk, on Friday informed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that he would be vacating his post come February 2019. "We'll teach them a lesson", Erdoğan said at a meeting of the Turkey Youth Foundation, just three months before national elections.

"Our phone call with President Trump, along with contacts between our diplomats and security officials and statements by the United States, have led us to wait a little longer", he said.

In the past few days, Erdogan has been encouraged and inspired by Washington's decision to withdraw American troops from Syria.

Over the past two years, Turkey has conducted operations against Kurdish militants in parts of northern Syria that lie west of the Euphrates River.

Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes in Syria against what it says are Iranian military targets and advanced weapons deliveries to Hezbollah.

In his remarks Macron also paid tribute to Defense Secretary James Mattis, who announced he was resigning on Thursday after Trump told the world about his Syria U-turn.

Washington's decision not only has ramifications for the Kurds, who are being trained by USA forces, but also for Turkey's actions in Syria. "Mattis understood this", Macron said during a trip to Chad. Previously, Trump had declared on several occasions, the IS is defeated in Syria completely.

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