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US Senator from Turkey: ISIS Not Yet Destroyed in Syria

US Senator from Turkey: ISIS Not Yet Destroyed in Syria

Saturday, 19 January, 2019 - 10:15
US Senator Lindsey Graham. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
US Senator Lindsey Graham declared on Saturday that ISIS was not yet destroyed in Syria, hoping that President Donald Trump would slow down his withdrawal of forces from the war-torn country.

Speaking from Ankara, he said: "The goal of destroying ISIS is not yet accomplished."

Graham spoke to reporters in the Turkish capital, a day after meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the foreign affairs and defense ministers and Turkey's intelligence chief.

He revealed that the defense chiefs were working on a plan to move Syria’s Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) away from Turkey.

Trump announced last month that ISIS had been defeated in Syria and he would pull US forces out of the country. A bomb attack this week claimed by the terrorist group killed two US troops and two civilians working for the US military in northern Syria, along with other civilians.

The attack in Manbij appeared to be the deadliest on US forces in Syria since they deployed on the ground there in 2015.

It remains unclear when US forces will leave northern Syria, where both Turkey and the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad are ready to fill the vacuum. The YPG allied to the fighters holding Manbij last month invited Assad into the area around the town to forestall a potential Turkish assault.

Erdogan said last week he had discussed a safe zone with Trump, which Turkey would set up inside Syria along their border.

Turkey says the YPG is a terrorist organization and an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Graham also said the political arm of the YPG was interlinked and interconnected with the PKK.

“A withdrawal that does not outline the points I have made will not end the war against ISIS, it will start a new war,” he said.

“This war will be a necessity by Turkey, to go into Syria and clear out armed elements that Turkey believes poses a threat to its sovereignty.”

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