Erdogan, Trump to 'coordinate' as United States pulls out of Syria

Turkey says almost 300,000 Syrian refugees have gone home

Top commanders and Pentagon officials have few details about President Donald Trump's orders to pull USA forces out of Syria and Afghanistan, leaving them unable to answer questions from the troops as they conduct holiday goodwill tours.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, not the president, notified Mattis of Trump's decision to put in place Shanahan, said a senior administration official who insisted on anonymity to discuss personnel issues.

Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told reporters after a Cabinet meeting on Monday that Trump wants to make the trip in 2019, but a date has not been set. Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to dislodge the Kurdish fighters from along its border with Syria.

The Kurds have always been seen as a counter to the rise of Sunni radicals, as well as a buffer against spreading Iranian hegemony. The Kurdish autonomous areas already maintain warm relations with the Jewish state.

They portray the secretary as driven by his own views and determination to stay on the job while trying to keep from angering Trump, and they add that the very public orchestration of his departure is not going down well in some military circles.

The US has an estimated 2,000 US troops in Syria.

"To those few Senators who think I don't like or appreciate being allied with other countries, they are wrong, I DO", Trump said.

Initial reports when US President Donald Trump first made his shock declaration in that ISIS was "defeated in Syria" were that the withdrawal of US troops would be quick.

Erdogan's office said "the two leaders agreed to ensure coordination between their countries' military, diplomatic and other officials to avoid a power vacuum which could result following any abuse of the withdrawal and transition phase in Syria".

"The execute order for Syria has been signed", a USA military spokesperson told Agence France-Presse on Sunday in response to a query, without providing further details. After many years they are coming home.

Pavel Felgenhauer, a military analyst, said that Syrian Kurds are likely to turn to Moscow and Damascus after United States forces leave the region.

"I've encouraged him to find people who have some overlap with him but don't see the world in lockstep with him", Mulvaney said.

Erdogan said that security across the border is Turkey's responsibility.

In addition, Defense Secretary James Mattis, who did not agree with Trump's thinking and decision on Syria, announced his resignation.

The heightened military activity comes as Ankara and Washington have agreed to coordinate on the US withdrawal.

USA troops will leave under the auspices of a new Pentagon chief set to start next month, after Jim Mattis resigned from the post citing key differences, including on Syria, with the often-impulsive Trump.

Part of the military equipment and soldiers were placed on posts along the border, a separate contingent crossed the border and entered Syria via the district Elbeyli, located 45 kilometers from the Northern Syrian city of Manbij.

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