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Mr Pompeo said the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria was a "tactical change" but the mission to destroy Islamic State and counter Iran's influence remained the same.

Trump also appeared to propose a 20 mile safe zone on the Turkey-Syria border so as to prevent clashes between the Turkish military and Kurdish fighters in northern Syria.

Trump threatened Turkey on Sunday with harsh economic sanctions if it attacks Kurdish forces in Syria after USA troops withdraw from the country in the coming months.

However, unlike Bolton's comments on the YPG, U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo said that Turkey has a legitimate security concerns in Syria. "We would take necessary steps against terrorists near our borders, and we will decide the timing on our own", Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said late Saturday at a meeting in southern Antalya province. Turkey considers the YPG to be affiliated with the PKK, which is banned by Ankara as a terrorist organisation.

His declaration of victory against ISIS was far from unanimous, and officials said US defense and military leaders were trying to dissuade him from ordering the withdrawal right up until the last minute.

"We recognize the Turkish people's right to defend their country from terrorists, but we also know that those. who are not terrorists and fighting alongside us for all this time deserve to be protected", Pompeo told reporters.

The Gulf emirate is his latest stop in a regional tour aimed at reassuring allies after a Trump's shock announcement in December that U.S. troops would be withdrawn from Syria.

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No U.S. personnel have left Syria yet, according to a Pentagon spokesman.

More than 2,000 USA troops are serving in Syria. He said many details around the troop withdrawal still need to be ironed out, but that he was optimistic a "good outcome" could be reached between Turkey and Kurdish groups in Syria.

The withdrawal began with shipments of military equipment, USA defense officials said.

Just because a "couple thousand uniform personnel" will be leaving Syria, Pompeo said, doesn't mean that USA interests have changed.

Last month, Trump announced that he wanted U.S. troops out of Syria - a decision that resulted in the resignations of Defense Secretary James Mattis and Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter ISIS. Stressing that Turkey has a significant position with regard to coming up with a solution and taking steps for stability in Syria, Çavuşoğlu said active diplomacy and efforts to prevent humanitarian crises have made the country a major player in world diplomacy.

Help us grow and continue telling Israel's story to the world. He is also expected to travel to Saudi Arabia.


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