Erdoğan says he'll raise lack of Kurdish militia's withdrawal in meeting with Trump

Erdoğan says he'll raise lack of Kurdish militia's withdrawal in meeting with Trump
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday said that in his meeting next week with President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump denies telling Bolton Ukraine aid was tied to investigations Former senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Title, release date revealed for Bolton memoir MORE, he plans to raise the issue of a Kurdish militia he said the U.S. has failed to remove from the Turkish-Syrian border, according to Reuters.

“While we hold these talks, those who promised us that the YPG ... would withdraw from here within 120 hours have not achieved this,” Erdogan said, referencing Yekîneyên Parastina Gel, or People’s Protection Units, a militia that played a key role in the fight against ISIS.


U.S. officials, including Vice President Pence and Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoHere's how the US can pressure Lebanon's new government tackle corruption Trump questions why NPR exists after Pompeo clashes with reporter Senate Dems to Pompeo: Comments about NPR reporter 'insulting and contemptuous' MORE, brokered a cease-fire deal between Turkey and Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria, but Ankara also made an agreement with Russia over the region and a State Department official said it was unclear which arrangement covered the border town of Ras al-Ain.

“The YPG and all armed forces have certainly withdrawn from the vast majority of our area,” the official said, according to Reuters. “Erdoğan is never all that specific in his broadside attacks on us or anybody else.”

Erdoğan claimed Turkish forces had continued clashing with the Kurds, accusing Kurdish forces of killing 11 Turkey-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) fighters Thursday.

“These terrorists are attacking the SNA, and the SNA is retaliating in kind. There are 11 martyrs from the SNA this morning. Many more were killed on the other side,” he said.

As of late Wednesday, Mazloum Kobani, commander of the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces, said the SDF was resuming its operations with the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition.

“As a result of a series of meetings with Coalition leaders, #SDF is resuming its joint program of work with the Coalition to combat #ISIS and securing the infrastructure of NE #Syria,” he tweeted.

Erdoğan’s statement compounds existing tensions over his visit since the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Empire after years of false starts due to concerns it could alienate the NATO ally.