We Will Devastate Turkey's Economy If They Attack Kurds

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Syria war On the frontline with US troops fighting IS

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Syria war On the frontline with US troops fighting IS

Erdogan has taken a strong exception to the Trump administration's dictates on Kurdish fighters especially U.S. concerns on the safety of its Kurdish allies, who helped Washington in its fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS).

This came after Turkey vowed it "will not be intimidated" by Trump's threats of economic devastation if Ankara attacked Kurdish forces as United States troops withdraw from Syria.

Also on Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the planned US troop withdrawal from Syria amounted to a "tactical change" that would not alter the overall USA mission to inflict a lasting defeat on the Islamic State, counter Iran and safeguard local partnered forces.

The SDF, a coalition of militias led by the Kurdish YPG, have driven IS from a swathe of northern and eastern Syria with the help of the US-led coalition over the past four years.

At the time of the announcement, Trump claimed his government would be bringing the troops back home as the U.S. had "defeated ISIS in Syria".

Mustafa Bali, head of the SDF media office, said its fighters had stepped up attacks in the last two days and taken control of the area between the Islamic State enclave and the Iraqi border, cutting an escape route.

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Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed Sunday that Israel had struck hundreds of Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria over the weekend, including a weapons facility, as the Israeli Defense Forces announced the discovery of a sixth and final tunnel dug by the Lebanese militant group for cross-border attacks.

"Turkey expects the United States to honour our strategic partnership and doesn't want it to be shadowed by terrorist propaganda", Mr Kalin added on Twitter. "We will not compromise", Erdoğan said.

It also provoked concerns about the safety of Kurdish forces who fought ISIS alongside the U.S.in Syria but are considered terrorists by Turkey and its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"It is an awesome statement and one that we can't really imagine having heard from any other president of the United States, particularly put in those terms".

On Sunday, Trump said Turkey would suffer economically if it attacked the Kurds, but did not say how.

"We also know that those who aren't terrorists, those who were fighting alongside of us for all this time deserve to be protected as well", Pompeo said.

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Coming to Turkey from the same region five years ago, Hussein Asbad said he was a teacher in his country and he was using his experience for the education of the citizens in the camps. While this was happening, US officials reassured the SDF that USA troops would stay in Northeast Syria indefinitely.

Turkey's January 2018 Operation Olive Branch, in which the Turkish Armed Forces and their Syrian Arab and Turkmen allies invaded the northwestern Kurdish canton of Afrin to oust the YPG, callously employed jihadis-including, as some have alleged, former members of ISIS -against the Kurdish and Yazidi populations. "Terrorists can't be your partners & allies", the spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, said.

However, the president also sent a strong warning to the Kurds.

Trump on Sunday warned the U.S. would "devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds".

Soon after Trump announced his planned withdrawal on December 19, USA policy turned to "chaos", Heras says.

Three senior Pentagon officials have resigned following Trump's decision to pull out from Syria.

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