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Turkey Prepares To Shoulder The Fight Against ISIS In Syria Ahead Of The US Withdrawal
ANKARA, Turkey –– Turkey’s army is preparing to take over the fight against remnants of Islamic State in Syria now that the U.S. is withdrawing its troops.
Turkey is massing troops in Syria to replace U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters in a strategically located town.
Turkey and the U.S. agreed to make sure that Kurdish forces are withdrawn from the northern town of Manbij before the U.S. withdrawal, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Tuesday. Turkey has insisted that the Kurdish fighters, who are affiliated with the separatist Turkish Kurdish PKK militant group, be withdrawn east of the Euphrates River under a June agreement with Washington.
Manbij is the last major Syrian town controlled by Kurdish forces west of the Euphrates, and Turkey is eager to see all Kurdish forces withdraw east of the river so they can’t attempt to access the Mediterranean.
Turkey wants to fill the power vacuum that will be left in Syria by the withdrawal of American troops, and is coordinating its army’s plans with the U.S. and Russia.
Cavusoglu warned France against shielding Kurdish YPG fighters from a Turkish assault after Kurdish forces called for a larger French role after the U.S. withdrawal.
A broader fight against Islamic State would significantly expand Turkey’s involvement in Syria, where other Islamist militants are trying to keep their last stronghold in the northwest province of Idlib. On Monday, Turkey warned Syria that it would forcefully retaliate against any attack on its military positions there.
Turkey’s strained ties with Washington have improved immeasurably in the past week. The State Department notified Congress of a proposal to sell Patriot air and missile defense systems to Ankara, which has alarmed its NATO allies with its plan to procure S-400 missiles from Russia. Then President Donald Trump yielded to a suggestion from Erdogan to pull U.S. forces from Syria, where they have been fighting Islamic State., shocking even those in his inner circle and leading to the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis.
©2018 Bloomberg News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.
Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."
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Police arrest suspected terrorist for 1985 hijacking in which Navy diver Robert D. Stethem was murdered
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police have arrested a 65-year-old Lebanese man suspected of involvement in the 1985 hijacking of a Trans World Airlines (TWA) plane in which a U.S. navy diver was killed.
A Greek police official said on Saturday the suspect had disembarked from a cruise ship on the island of Mykonos on Thursday and that his name came up as being wanted by German authorities.
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