The Latest: Kurd pol: France should strengthen role in Syria


BERLIN (AP) — The Latest on developments in and related to Syria (all times local):

2:25 p.m.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the United States decided to its withdraw troops from Syria after he reassured U.S. President Donald Trump that Turkey could eradicate the remnants of Islamic State group from the country with just logistical help from Washington.

Addressing a business meeting in Istanbul Friday, Erdogan said Turkey would work on plans to conduct operations to eliminate both IS and Syrian Kurdish militants from the region.

“We will be working on our operational plans to eliminate IS elements, which are said to remain intact in Syria, in line with our conversation with President Trump.”

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“We will adopt an operational style geared toward eliminating (Kurdish militia) and (IS) remnants,” he added.

Erdogan welcomed Trump’s troop withdrawal decision, calling it “the clearest and most encouraging statement” from Washington. He said however, that Turkey remained cautious citing “negative experiences of the past.”


2:10 p.m.

A senior Kurdish politician has called on France to play a stronger role in Syria following the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country.

Ilham Ahmed also says France as a NATO member has a moral obligation to prevent Turkey from attacking Kurds.

Ahmed was in Paris on Friday as part of a delegation for talks on the planned U.S. military withdrawal from Syria as well as Turkey’s threats to launch a military operation against Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, Ahmed said the Kurds may have to withdraw from the front lines with the Islamic State group in eastern Syria to deploy along the Turkish border following Turkish threats.

President Donald Trump’s abrupt call on U.S. troops to leave Syria has left America’s only allies in the country in the lurch

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1:35 p.m.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says his country welcomes the decision by President Donald Trump to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.

Cavusoglu spoke Friday during a visit to Malta in comments that were broadcast on Turkish television. His comments were the first official reaction to the U.S. decision to pull troops out.

The minister spoke of a need to coordinate the withdrawal with the United States and said all countries need to be vigilant toward the remnants of the Islamic State group.

He also warned that the withdrawal should not create a vacuum that could be filled by terrorist groups.

Cavusoglu said the international community needs to focus on a “political process” for the future of Syria.


1:15 p.m.

The German government says it wasn’t consulted by Washington before the United States announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria.

Government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer told reporters in Berlin on Friday that Berlin would have appreciated prior consultations.

Demmer said the U.S. decision could affect the dynamics of the conflict, adding that “much remains to be done” for a final victory over the Islamic State group.

She said the United States is an “important ally” but declined to say whether Germany considers it a “reliable” one, too.

German Defense Ministry spokesman Jens Flosdorff said the decision has no immediate impact on Germany’s aerial surveillance missions over Syria.

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