Trump threatens to 'devastate' Turkey's economy if they attack Kurds

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USA support for a Syrian-led Kurdish militia known as the People's Protection Units that Turkey considers a foe is the source of one rift.

US President Donald Trump has threatened to "devastate" Turkey's economy if it carries out a military offensive against Kurdish fighters in Syria, drawing a response from Ankara which warned Washington against "shadowing" the countries' strategic partnership with "terrorist propaganda".

Earlier this week, an administration official told CNN that the first United States military ground equipment has been withdrawn from the war-torn country. "Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms", the President tweeted on Sunday.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday that he was optimistic the United States and Turkey would reach an agreement on how to protect YPG troops in Syria.

"The lasting defeat of ISIS is still the mission and they still present a very real threat to the long-term stability in this region, so it is not over yet". Washington, however, has continued to support the YPG, despite the USA listing the PKK as a terrorist organization.

The pullout was reportedly sparked after a phone conversation between Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It also prompted the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and drew criticism in Congress. Sen. He then added: "Likewise, do not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey".

Ankara, which views the fighters a danger to its southern border, has reacted angrily to suggestions that Trump's plan to withdraw troops was conditional on the safety of the US-backed Kurdish forces.

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Trump's decision to call back US troops in Syria, who were first deployed in 2015, was followed a day later by the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who wrote a letter to the president saying he had the right to have a secretary of defense "whose views are better aligned with yours".

But, he added, "we also know that those are fighting alongside of us for all this time deserve to be protected as well".

"We have no problems with our Kurdish brothers, Arab brothers in Syria, Turkmens and other ethnic and religious groups".

Pompeo's remarks follow tensions between the USA and Turkey over the fate of Washington's allies in the fight against ISIS.

"We have achieved the goal that we set out to achieve", he said.

"We have operated with impressive success in thwarting Iran from establishing a military foothold in Syria, in the framework of which the military has struck hundreds of times against Iranian and Hezbollah targets", Netanyahu said.