Associated Press

Turkey Appears to Snub U.S.

Turkey: No Assurances on Kurds

January 08, 2019 - 9:53 am

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A senior U.S. official trying to negotiate the safety of Kurdish allies in northeastern Syria was apparently rebuffed by Turkey's president who said Tuesday there would be "no concession" in Ankara's push against what he describes as terror groups in the war-torn country.

White House national security adviser John Bolton met for roughly two hours with his Turkish counterpart Ibrahim Kalin and other senior officials at Ankara's presidency complex but got no assurances on the safety of Syrian Kurdish allies — a condition for President Donald Trump's planned withdrawal of U.S. troops from northeastern Syria.

Bolton relayed Trump's insistence that Turkey refrain from attacking Kurdish forces that fought alongside U.S. troops against the Islamic State group, a guarantee Turkey appeared unwilling to grant.

"They had a productive discussion of the President's decision to withdraw at a proper pace from Northeast Syria," spokesman Garrett Marquis said in a statement, adding that direct military to military talks would continue Tuesday.

Shortly after Bolton's meetings and in an apparent snub to the U.S. diplomatic push, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara's preparations for a new military offensive against terror groups in Syria are "to a large extent" complete.

"We cannot make any concessions," Erdogan said, and also slammed Bolton over comments suggesting the United States would prevent attacks on Kurds.

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