Turkey's Erdogan snubs Bolton as rift between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies deepens

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On Dec. 19, President Donald Trump announced in a tweet that ISIS in Syria had been defeated.

The demand, which Bolton said came from Trump, immediately drew criticism from Turkish officials.Bolton concluded his visit to Turkey with more than two hours of discussions with officials Tuesday, but without meeting Erdogan.National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis said Erdogan called Bolton's Turkish counterpart, Ibrahim Kalın, during their meeting and told him to send his regards to Bolton.

In emailed remarks, Malley dismissed Pompeo's speech as "a self-congratulatory, delusional depiction of the Trump administration's Middle East policy" and said the secretary of state was speaking from "a parallel universe". He said that no offensive action would be taken in Syria while U.S. forces remained but that Turkey was fully within its rights to attack the Kurdish "terrorists".

Some 2,000 USA military personnel are reported to be in Syria, and have been involved in fighting Islamic State militants.

"America's position in Iraq, like its position in Syria, is on thin ice, because Iran - in Iraq - has really won the day and ultimately we've seen that the rise of sectarian sensibilities and sectarian animosities in the larger Middle East has undermined America's position and strengthened Iran's position, because Iran is (a majority) Shi'ite country.and the U.S.is seen to be a pro-Saudi, pro-Sunni, pro-Gulf country", said Landis.

"The US is not withdrawing from the base at al-Tanf at this time", the Turkish official was quoted saying.

The Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, said Wednesday they had captured US citizen Soulay Noah Su, 16, who had been going by the alias Abu Souleiman al-Amriki, as well as citizens of Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan.

Casting Iran as a "cancerous influence", Pompeo said the U.S. had "reimposed sanctions that should never have been lifted".

Trump this year abandoned that deal, pursuing instead what his administration has called a policy of "maximum pressure" on Iran to try to force it to limit its nuclear program, curtail its ballistic missile activities and cease supporting proxy forces in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon. He did not give details, such as a timetable, leaving bewildered USA partners in the region jockeying for influence over terms of a withdrawal.

They are meant to clarify Washington's policies in the Middle East with its regional allies and further strategic objectives that focus on the war against militant groups and the isolation of Iran.

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His speech which began with "America is a force of good in the Middle East" marks a departure from Obama who started his humble speech with an apology, Bishara said.

"This isn't a change of mission", Pompeo said.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan contends the Syrian Kurds have links to Kurdish separatist forces inside Turkey that have long battled the central government.

Bolton outlined a series of U.S. objectives in a meeting with the Turks this week, according to a senior administration official briefed on objectives outlined at the meeting.

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

"John Bolton [US national security adviser] has made a grave mistake on this issue", a furious Mr Erdoğan told parliament as Mr Bolton arrived in Ankara for talks with Turkish officials.

"If the (pullout) is put off with ridiculous excuses like Turks are massacring Kurds, which do not reflect the reality, we will implement this decision", Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told NTV television. As recently as 5 January, US Special Forces were still conducting patrols in the SDF-controlled town of Manbij, which both the Turkey-backed Syrian opposition forces and Syrian government have recently expressed intentions to recapture.

Top Photo | A stylized map shows the military situation in Syria. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, left, looking at a map with senior officers from the Iranian military as they visit a front line in the northern province of Aleppo, Syria. "We won, and that's the way we want it", Trump said in a video post.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's speech Thursday at the American University in Cairo struck out at the Obama administration's policies in the Middle East.

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