"So they don't endanger our troops but also so that they meet the president's requirement that the Syrian opposition forces that have fought with us are not endangered."Two weeks ago, after Trump announced the withdrawal plan, Turkey's military began deploying hundreds of vehicles and troops in areas surrounding the northwestern Syrian town of Manbij that Ankara has long pushed the U.S.to clear of Kurdish militant groups".
It is "irrational" to say Turkey targets Kurds as the country is fighting Daesh and the PKK/PYD/YPG, Turkish Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said in response to Bolton's remarks. Trump had faced widespread criticism from allies about his decision, announced in mid-December, that he was pulling all 2,000 USA troops from Syria.
"Russia, Iran, Syria and many others are not happy about the USA leaving... because they will have to fight ISIS... without us", Trump wrote. "They said again, recently, 'Can we have more time?' " Trump said of United States generals.
Among the policy decisions still to be made is what to do about the tens of thousands of Syrian Kurdish fighters that U.S. forces have trained, armed, and advised to carry out the ground war against the Islamic State.
If the USA plans on making a withdrawal conditional on Turkish guarantees of safety for the YPG in Syria, one of two things will happen.
While Bolton's reassurances may have come as a relief to some, a top House Democrat stressed that the priorities the national security adviser outlined were "obvious" - and simply highlighted how unsafe Trump's initial withdrawal announcement was.
John Bolton's comments, reported by the Associated Press, contradict Trump's mid-December promise to bring troops home from Syria "now", an announcement that surprised allies and advisers, sparked an outcry from lawmakers, and prompted the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
Analysts and military experts, who disagree with Mr Trump, have said the threat posed by Isis still remains.
He also said the United States would keep some troops stationed at a key base in Al Tanf, which was originally used as a base to train fighters against the Islamic State, also known by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL, but has since become pivotal for the United States to combat Iranian influence in Syria.
The US will give a green light to some type of Turkish operation in Syria, just maybe not to the extent that Turkey wants, according to Erim, who reiterated recent debates about a 40-mile buffer zone into Syria.
Mr Bolton, on a four-day trip to Israel and Turkey, said he would stress in talks with Turkish officials, including President Tayyip Erdogan, that the Kurds must be safeguarded. "Turkey would not want to be a single actor advancing deep into Syrian territory to defeat Islamic State, but would want U.S. and coalition support".
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is following Bolton to the Mideast this coming week for an eight-country tour of Arab allies to shore up support for the administration's partners in the region. But U.S. officials have refused to give a specific timetable for the pullout.