Turkey invites Trump for talks on Syria after US announces troop pull-out

Ankara is one of the few countries to have backed the withdrawal as it clears the way for a possible offensive against the Kurds.

Turkey has invited President Trump for talks in Ankara after his announcement last week that US troops would be leaving Syria.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested the visit in a phone call to the US leader over the weekend.

The White House confirmed the invitation to meet next year, adding: “While nothing definite is being planned, the president is open to a potential meeting in the future.”

President Trump tweeted on Sunday that he had a “long and productive” call with Mr Erdogan in which they discussed “the slow & highly coordinated” pullout of U.S. military personnel.

He also appeared to hand responsibility to Ankara for dealing with Isis in Syria.

The US president said: “President @RT_Erdogan of Turkey has very strongly informed me that he will eradicate whatever is left of ISIS in Syria….and he is a man who can do it plus, Turkey is right ‘next door.’ Our troops are coming home!”

Turkey was one of the few US allies to endorse Mr Trump’s decision to pull the roughly 2,000 US troops out of Syria.

The move gives Turkey more scope to target US-backed Kurdish fighters who have led the ground battle in the war against IS but whom Ankara sees as terrorists.

Kurdish militia groups were particularly dismayed by Mr Trump’s decision.

Kurdish affairs analyst Mutlu Civiroglu said the pull-back will open the way “for Turkey to start its operations against the Kurds, and a bloody war will begin.”

The decision to pull US troops out of Syria was met with shock by many, internationally and within the White House.

It prompted defence secretary James Mattis to step down and pen a stinging letter of resignation.

In retaliation the US president announced General Mattis would leave his post two months earlier than planned, on 1 January.

Mr Trump also hit back at critics following the resignation of Brett McGurk, the special envoy to the anti-IS coalition.

He tweeted that he did “not know” the diplomat, who quit days after Mr Mattis, saying he could not support Mr Trump’s Syria decision.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday that he “deeply regretted” Mr Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops, and that “an ally must be reliable”.

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