Turkey to urge US to hand over military bases in Syria

A line of US military vehicles drive through a checkpoint of the Internal Security Forces in Manbij. AFP

ANKARA – Turkey was expected to ask US officials either to hand over its military bases in Syria to Ankara or to destroy them, the newspaper Hurriyet reported, a request that could further complicate discussions over the US withdrawal from Syria.

The request was expected to come in talks on Tuesday between US National Security Adviser John Bolton and his Turkish counterpart, Ibrahim Kalin. Bolton had also added a condition to the talks: Turkey must agree to protect the Kurdish YPG militia, a US ally. Ankara calls YPG a terrorist group.

It was unclear immediately after the talks whether either condition was met. With tensions simmering over US plans to exit Syria, Bolton did not meet with President Tayyip Erdogan.

Trump said last month he was bringing home the some U.S. 2,000 troops in Syria, saying they had succeeded in their mission to defeat Islamic State. His abrupt move sparked concern among officials in Washington and allies abroad and prompted Defence Secretary Jim Mattis to resign. (Reuters)


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