US Secretary of State Pompeo meets Iraqi Speaker in Baghdad

US Secretary of State Pompeo meets Iraqi Speaker in Baghdad

The Trump administration, on the other hand, continued to send mixed signals about its withdrawal plans on Wednesday.

USA officials have since tempered the timeline for withdrawal, saying there isn't one, and Trump has said a drawdown would happen slowly. He said that Secretary Pompeo "reassured Iraqi leaders that was not the case", prompting a cancellation of Thursday's parliament debate.

Indeed, the YPG, or the People's Protection Unit, are fighting in an area of Syria they call Rojava, or Western Kurdistan.

"After being so intertwined and engaged with a terrorist organization, it is not that easy to leave that terrorist organization", he added, referring to the YPG.

"Gen. Dunford did not say this during his meetings [Tuesday] with Turkish defense officials", a Joint Staff statement said.

He, however, said that a summit between all the three parties was being prepared in Moscow. SDF commanders have warned that they will be unable to hold the 700 prisoners if Turkish forces invade Syria following a USA withdrawal.

They "agreed that the situation is sensitive and that the internal issues have to be resolved through dialogue as well as reinforcing our relations with America", according to Talabani's office.

A line of U.S. military vehicles drive through a checkpoint of the Internal Security Forces in Manbij as they head to their base on the outskirts of the northern Syrian city on December 30, 2018. The announcement showcased a chaotic policymaking process in Washington, where top officials were left scrambling to reverse-engineer a coherent Syria policy.

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But the USA delegation instead delivered what Turkish officials described as a "non-paper", an unofficial diplomatic note listing a country's position on certain matters which is open for discussion.

Earlier, the US National Security Advisor John Bolton demanded safety guarantees for Syria's Kurds from Ankara amid the planned US withdrawal. The anti-government forces have been strongly supported by Turkey, and to a lesser extent by countries in the Arabian Peninsula.

Following a meeting with Kurdish officials in Erbil on Wednesday, he said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has committed to protecting Washington's Kurdish partners in Syria.

National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis said USA officials were told Erdogan cited local election season and a speech to parliament for not meeting with Bolton. To do so, Turkey would vet the Syrian Kurds who fought with the USA against ISIS and include those "with no links to terrorist organizations in the new stabilization force", Erdogan wrote."Only a diverse body can serve all Syrian citizens and bring law and order to various parts of the country", he wrote. The YPG is its Syrian wing. He also branded the U.S. allegations that Turkey seeks to "slaughter" Kurds as "absurd". They include not just crushing the Kurds, but also becoming a major player in the fight to fill that country's power vacuum.

Iraqi political analyst Hazem al-Shammari told Al-Arabiya TV that Iraqi leaders are caught between USA and Iranian wishes, given that Iran has called on the U.S.to withdraw its troops completely from Iraq. While the SDF posed a potent military threat in the Syrian Civil War, its position has become increasingly complicated in the previous year with the introduction of Turkish troops into the Syrian conflict. It has also been largely incapable of achieving its declared goal of destroying Daesh. They said the other captured militants were from Russia, Germany, Ukraine and central Asia.

The Kazakh capital Astana has been hosting talks since January 2017 between the Syrian government and opposition, with the guarantor states in attendance as mediators. Tough talk about the Kurds can only help him. They have also paved the way for the formation of a constitutional committee. However, any further military support for the SDF risks a wider war in the region, potentially with the serious military powerhouses of Russia, Iran, and Turkey.

Russian jets have been targeting positions held by terror outfits inside Syria since September 2015 while Iran has been offering military advisory assistance to the Syrian army.

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