Bolton conditions Syria pullout, infuriating Erdogan

The top adviser is in the Middle East to assure US allies, including Israel, alarmed by the sudden US policy turn.

January 8, 2019 22:15
2 minute read.
A U.S. Soldier surveils the area during a combined joint patrol in Manbij, Syria, November 1, 2018.

A U.S. Soldier surveils the area during a combined joint patrol in Manbij, Syria, November 1, 2018. Picture taken on November 1, 2018.. (photo credit: COURTESY ZOE GARBARINO/U.S. ARMY/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


WASHINGTON – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser on Tuesday for setting conditions on a withdrawal from Syria, including protection for Kurdish fighters.
US National Security Adviser John Bolton said that the Trump administration would only pull troops out of Syrian territory once the Pentagon had formalized a contingency plan to shield US allies fighting there – including Kurdish forces who are in conflict with Istanbul – to protect against Iranian encroachment on Israel’s border.
The top adviser is in the Middle East to assure US allies, including Israel, who are alarmed by the sudden US policy turn. In December, Trump declared a rapid withdrawal of all 2,000 US troops from Syria, leading to the resignations of his defense secretary, James Mattis, and his top counter-Islamic State officer, Brett McGurk.
Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin originally rejoiced over Trump’s move, but now think that an internal rebellion within his ranks will slow down the policy process. An editorial in a top Turkish newspaper on Tuesday claimed that a “soft coup” had taken place against the US president.
Erdogan characterized the statement as “a serious mistake” that complicated a pledge the president made to him directly over the phone last month.
“Different voices have started emerging from different segments of the administration,” Erdogan said, refusing to meet with Bolton during his trip over the comments. “Bolton has made a serious mistake and whoever thinks like this has also made a mistake. It is not possible for us to make compromises on this point.”
Instead, Bolton met his Turkish counterpart Ibrahim Kalin. A senior US official said Bolton told the Turkish officials that the United States opposed any mistreatment of its Kurdish allies, even as Erdogan pledged to treat Kurdish forces just as it treats Islamic State.
The senior US official also said that the United States would not be withdrawing from its base at al-Tanf near the Iraqi border.
On Tuesday, also during a visit to the region, in Jordan, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the withdrawal would not jeopardize Washington’s efforts to counter regional threats from Islamic State and Iran.
The US was “redoubling not only our diplomatic but our commercial efforts to put real pressure on Iran,” Pompeo said.
Israel is deeply concerned that the US pullout from Syria will provide a power vacuum for Iran to fill.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Now is the time to join the news event of the year - The Jerusalem Post Annual Conference!
For more information and to sign up,
click here>>

Related Content

June 16, 2019
Ronald S. Lauder to receive prize for Outstanding Contribution to Society


Cookie Settings