Turkey sends military reinforcements to Syrian border

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US President Donald Trump says he has spoken with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to co-ordinate the withdrawal of US forces from Syria, as his own staff were deserting the White House in protest over Trump's policy.

Trump last week ordered a complete troop pullout from Syria, asserting that the Islamic State group had been defeated, and a significant withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Trump's declaration of triumph has alarmed key North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies such as France and Germany, who said the change of course on Syria risks damaging the fight against Islamic State, which has now been squeezed to a sliver of Syrian territory.

Plans for the troop pullout will now be overseen by Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, who Mr Trump announced on Sunday would replace Mr Mattis starting January 1.

Almost 300,000 Syrian refugees have returned home since two Turkish military operations in the war-ravaged nation, the Turkish interior minister said Saturday after Ankara warned yet another offensive was being planned.

The next day, Trump said Russia, Iran and Syria were unhappy about the US move "because now they will have to fight ISIS and others".

Since 2016, Ankara has carried out two similar military operations in northern Syria, which has helped some 300,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey to return home, according to Turkish officials.

Lindsey Graham, one of several top Republicans who panned Trump's move, the official said critics were entitled to their opinions.

Erdogan said he'd "provide all kinds of support to the United States, its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally" in the anti-terrorism campaign in Syria, according to a readout of the call published by Turkey.

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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.

On American ABC television, Mulvaney said Mattis and Trump "just could never get on the same page" on Syria, adding that Trump would not change his mind.

"An ally must be reliable, to coordinate with its other allies", Macron said.

Turkey has long criticized the USA for training and arming the YPG, which it says is linked to domestic terrorists it has fought for more than three decades.

United States officials have cautioned against a timeline for a Syria exit but the withdrawal could begin in weeks now that the order to pull-out troops has been signed.

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. "In fact, Jews don't kick men but also women and children when they fall on the ground", warning that "we will confront these people if they have courage to deal with us and we'll teach them a lesson". "We are done", Trump told him, CNN reported on Monday.

He said up to 15,000 Syrian fighters trained in Turkey are ready to take part in the operation.

Darwish dismissed the claims as "untrue", calling them "old accusations" from the rival Syrian groups.

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