Turkey has asked Washington to hand over its bases in Syria as the Trump administration appeared to reverse plans to withdraw from the country’s north-east on Tuesday, jeopardising Ankara’s plans to launch a widespread military operation targeting Kurdish groups.
The fresh row between the two Nato allies broke out as the US national security adviser, John Bolton, visited Ankara to row back on a surprise announcement by Donald Trump in December that US forces would leave Syria imminently, abandoning Kurdish proxies who had led its ground war against the Islamic State terror group. Turkey views those same Kurdish groups as mortal foes.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in a scathing speech to parliament delivered while Bolton was still in the Turkish capital, said the US envoy had “made a serious mistake” and that Turkey would never agree to a compromise that protected the Kurdish militia, known as the YPG, whose members helped a US-led coalition push Isis out of most of Syria’s east. [Continue reading…]