SEVERE WX : Severe Thunderstorm Watch - Severe Thunderstorm Warning View Alerts

Pompeo discusses US drawdown in Syria with Turkish counterpart

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called his Turkish counterpart Saturday to discuss Syria, a conversation t...

Posted: Jan 13, 2019 1:35 PM
Updated: Jan 13, 2019 1:36 PM

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called his Turkish counterpart Saturday to discuss Syria, a conversation that comes at a time of increased tensions between the two NATO allies over the planned US withdrawal from that country.

"The Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke to Pompeo about the latest developments in Syria," said a brief statement from Turkey's foreign ministry.

Continents and regions

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Government departments and authorities

International relations

International relations and national security

Middle East

Middle East and North Africa

Mike Pompeo

Minority and ethnic groups

North America

Political Figures - US

Society

State departments and diplomatic services

Syria

Syria conflict

The Americas

The Kurds

Turkey

United States

Unrest, conflicts and war

Armed forces

John Bolton

Military

Donald Trump

Iran

Pompeo's call with Cavusoglu came as the top US diplomat continues a marathon Middle East tour, which has taken him to Cairo, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. He is also expected to travel to Saudi Arabia.

In a high-profile speech Thursday in Cairo, Pompeo insisted there had been no contradiction in the shifting US strategy in Syria or confusion about it despite the shocked response to the move from allies in the Middle East and beyond.

Iran and Syria

Addressing reporters Saturday in the UAE capital, Pompeo said the goal of expelling "every last Iranian boot" from Syria was an ambitious objective but insisted it was the US mission. He did not go into detail about how it would be achieved. He also repeated the argument that the withdrawal of US troops from Syria was just a "tactical change."

Pompeo pointed to a forum of nations set for February to address instability in the region. The United States and Poland will jointly host the Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East.

"We're going to have an important ministerial in Warsaw on February 13 and 14 where there will be dozens of countries ... from nearly every continent," Pompeo told reporters Saturday in an off-camera briefing.

"There'll be countries from Asia and Western Hemisphere and certainly from the Middle East and from Africa and from Europe all attending. And we'll talk about lots of issues, including how it is we together can get Iran to behave like a normal nation."

He said the coalition "is big and growing and the tools that we get from having that coalition working together to complete that mission give us an opportunity to create that chance for the Iranian people."

Pompeo was asked if these efforts were more of a "holistic" way to expel the Iranians without the United States necessarily taking the lead.

"That's right. We're happy to be an important part of it. It's an important part of President Trump's agenda. The nuclear proliferation risks from Iran are incredibly real," he said.

Referring to the Iran nuclear deal from which the US has withdrawn, Pompeo said, "The previous arrangement that was struck was wholly inadequate to prevent those proliferation (risks). So our mission set (is) certainly to stop the terror regime, to stop the funding of Hezbollah, Shia militias and Houthis -- funding the Houthis in Yemen "

Strained relations

US demands that the Kurds be protected after US forces leave Syria have worsened already strained relations with Turkey.

Pompeo told Egyptian state television Friday he planned to speak to the Turkish foreign minister to come to a "common understanding" about the execution of Trump's decision to withdraw US troops from Syria in an "orderly and productive" way.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan publicly blasted US national security adviser John Bolton on Tuesday for saying the US withdrawal was contingent upon Turkey's pledge not to attack US-backed Kurdish fighters in Syria once American troops go home.

Turkey considers several Kurdish groups -- including the People's Protection Units, also known as the YPG -- to be terrorist organizations.

The YPG is the backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is the main US partner on the ground in the battle against ISIS and has controlled a large swath of northern Syria for the past several years.

Pompeo confirmed Saturday that the US special envoy for Syria, James Jeffrey, was in the country, adding that the diplomat would travel back to Ankara before too long.

Bolton said earlier in the week that Jeffrey's trip to Syria would be to reassure the Kurds that the United States was not abandoning them.

Kurds' morale hit

Kurds on the front lines of the fight against ISIS in Syria have told CNN their morale has taken a hit as they seek protection by strengthening other alliances -- including with the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Russians.

Meanwhile, US Gulf allies, including the UAE, have been ramping up their engagement with the Assad regime since Trump announced the US drawdown on December 19, as US leverage on Syria is now seen as waning.

CNN reported Friday that the withdrawal of US military ground equipment from Syria has begun.

However, there's still no clarity on when troops might withdraw, with both Pompeo and Bolton refusing to commit to a withdrawal timetable in recent days.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 751242

Reported Deaths: 13795
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1032931788
Lake556911009
Allen41692692
St. Joseph36990565
Hamilton36588417
Elkhart29398461
Tippecanoe22901226
Vanderburgh22556400
Porter19356325
Johnson18471389
Hendricks17682317
Clark13226195
Madison13149344
Vigo12614253
LaPorte12419221
Monroe12207176
Delaware10966198
Howard10321225
Kosciusko9630121
Hancock8576146
Bartholomew8169157
Warrick7860156
Floyd7811180
Grant7242179
Wayne7162201
Boone6966103
Morgan6761141
Dubois6218118
Marshall6209116
Cass6016110
Henry5900110
Dearborn589878
Noble581488
Jackson509076
Shelby501496
Lawrence4742122
Gibson444894
Clinton442355
Harrison441875
DeKalb439885
Montgomery438090
Whitley406543
Huntington402681
Steuben400159
Miami395269
Jasper388054
Knox375991
Putnam372960
Wabash361983
Ripley347170
Adams345555
Jefferson335886
White331953
Daviess3033100
Wells295281
Decatur289992
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey273835
LaGrange273072
Scott270156
Clay267148
Washington246036
Randolph244783
Jennings235349
Spencer234531
Starke228058
Fountain220948
Sullivan214643
Owen211858
Fulton202942
Jay200932
Carroll193620
Orange188255
Perry187237
Rush175926
Vermillion174844
Franklin170335
Tipton166246
Parke149416
Pike138234
Blackford136232
Pulaski120647
Newton113936
Brown104243
Crawford102516
Benton101714
Martin91715
Warren84015
Switzerland8148
Union72810
Ohio57911
Unassigned0420

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1108736

Reported Deaths: 20166
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1287201467
Cuyahoga1157922211
Hamilton813971250
Montgomery525481043
Summit484271001
Lucas43353820
Butler39013606
Stark33332929
Lorain25672505
Warren24591303
Mahoning22370603
Lake21207388
Clermont20117253
Delaware18852136
Licking16662222
Fairfield16574204
Trumbull16548482
Medina15610271
Greene15281248
Clark14237306
Wood13292200
Portage13251215
Allen11913239
Richland11605211
Miami10849225
Wayne9141223
Columbiana9032230
Muskingum8906135
Pickaway8663122
Tuscarawas8649250
Marion8642138
Erie8056165
Ashtabula7160179
Hancock6998132
Ross6944161
Geauga6838151
Scioto6534106
Belmont6157174
Union584549
Lawrence5731102
Jefferson5678158
Huron5546122
Sandusky5442126
Darke5420129
Seneca5348128
Washington5319109
Athens523960
Auglaize502187
Mercer487385
Shelby476895
Knox4571112
Madison444266
Ashland435797
Putnam4336103
Defiance432399
Fulton432074
Crawford4037110
Brown402461
Logan387677
Preble3855105
Clinton379166
Ottawa373681
Highland359665
Williams348278
Champaign344759
Guernsey324953
Jackson318254
Perry297350
Morrow291840
Fayette285450
Hardin275265
Henry273467
Holmes2701101
Coshocton269060
Van Wert247264
Adams243256
Pike242835
Gallia240650
Wyandot234556
Hocking220563
Carroll197348
Paulding176542
Meigs148440
Monroe136344
Noble136239
Harrison114138
Morgan109624
Vinton85517
Unassigned03
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
68° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 68°
Angola
Cloudy
° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: °
Huntington
Cloudy
67° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 67°
Decatur
Mostly Cloudy
68° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 68°
Van Wert
Mostly Cloudy
77° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 79°
Strong to severe storms move through Sunday evening to early Monday morning. Showers and a few storms are likely on Monday.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events