Netanyahu attempts to calm fears over US-Syria exit

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Youssef Hammoud, spokesman for Turkey-backed Syrian opposition groups, said they have up to 15,000 trained fighters ready to deploy alongside Turkish forces, and they are already preparing to move into Manbij - a Kurdish-administered town in northern Syria where USA troops are based.

A USA soldier walks on a newly installed position, near the tense front line between the US-backed Syrian Manbij Military Council and the Turkish-backed fighters, in Manbij, north Syria, April 4, 2018.

Turkey began reinforcing its positions on both sides of its border with Syria on Sunday, a Reuters witness said, as Ankara and Washington agreed to coordinate a US withdrawal from Syria.

A Kurdish-led force captured much of northern and eastern Syria from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) with the help of the US-led coalition.

Aldar Khalil, a senior Kurdish official, urged the United States to stop Turkey from moving ahead with its plans for a major attack against Kurdish groups - which it considers to be terrorist organisations - in northern Syria. He also asked if the USA wants to be there "forever".

Russian Federation supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Turkey has backed rebels fighting against him.

"We can speculate and come up with many reasons; the most important of which for a fiscal pragmatist like Trump is perhaps the actual financial cost factor", Ghassan Kadi, a political analyst of Syrian origin, told Sputnik. "We will see about that", Kalin said on Monday. Most of the US military bases in Syria are located in the north, in the areas controlled by Kurdish militias, who actively cooperated with the United States in the fight against the Islamists.

In contrast with Trump's claim that the Islamic State (IS) group has been defeated in Syria, Pentagon officials had stressed earlier this year that the fight against IS isn't over.

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Former Israeli national security adviser Yaakov Amidror said: "From now on, it will be a free ride for the Iranians and they will use the corridor [through Syria] logistically to enhance their capabilities to build the military forces in Syria and to help Hezbollah afterwards", Amidror said.

Turkey began reinforcing its positions on both sides of its border with Syria on Sunday (December 23), as Ankara and Washington agreed to co-ordinate a USA withdrawal from Syria.

In June, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies reached an agreement that would see the YPG ousted from Manbij but Turkey has complained the roadmap has been delayed.

But Turkey has angrily accused the United States and the Kurds of failing to carry out their deal to pull out of Manbij.

Donald Trump said Sunday he had discussed Syria and "the slow & highly coordinated pullout of US troops from the area" in a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

McGurk's resignation, effective December 31, comes on the heels of Mattis's decision to quit the Trump administration over key disagreements with the U.S. president, notably the Syria withdrawal.

This wrong-headed decision is but one example of how risky it is for our national security to be controlled by Mr. Trump's impulsive and self-satisfying "gut". Hundreds of Kurdish fighters died in the fight against IS. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the fighting displaced almost 1,000 civilians on Sunday alone. That assessment was shared by many senior Israeli officials.

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