Washington on Saturday trivialized its disagreements with Ankara on the fate of the Kurds in Syria, to ensure that they can guarantee their protection despite the withdrawal of the US, presented by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as a purely "tactical" decision.
"There are still a lot of details to be sorted, but I am optimistic about the opportunity to get a good result," said the head of the American diplomacy just after a telephone conversation, from Abu Dhabi, where his regional tour, with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.
The announcement in December of the withdrawal of the US Army, deployed in Syria to fight the Islamic State (IS), was greeted by Turkey but weakened the situation of Kurdish fighters who fought alongside the United States against the jihadist group.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatens to launch a military offensive in northern Syria to expel these militia members from the People & # 39; s Protection Units (YPG) which Turkey considers "terrorists".
Since then, Mike Pompeo said he wants to make sure "the Turks do not kill the Kurds", and Washington even made their protection a precondition for withdrawal, making Ankara angry.
The visit by American security official John Bolton to Turkey on Tuesday to discuss the departure of American troops has even led to new sparks between the two allied countries, whose relations began to decline after a crisis. unknown.
President Erdogan openly rebuked Donald Trump's close advisor for defending the militias.
– "Ambitious goal" –
Turkey, fearing that an embryo from a Kurdish state would be made to the door that would revive separatist ambitions on its own territory, now claims that the anti-YPG offensive could not wait for the departure of American soldiers.
"We recognize the right of the Turks and President Erdogan to defend their country against terrorists," said MP Pompeo in Abu Dhabi.
"We also know that those who have been fighting with us all this time also deserve protection," he added.
"We are confident that we can achieve this dual goal": "protect the Turks from legitimate terrorist threats and avoid any significant risk for men who are not terrorist threats to Turkey," he said. continued.
Concerned to justify himself on the international stage, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a stand published in the New York Times on Monday, assured Turkey that "there was no problem with the Kurds of Syria". And he promised that "all hunters who have no connection with terrorist organizations" are safe.
Asked about the possibility to really differentiate between "Kurdish" and "non-terrorist" Kurds in Syria and especially among the YPG militia members, the head of the American diplomacy said: "Yes, I think we can do that."
While the US-led international anti-jihadist coalition has begun reclaiming material from Syria, Washington continues to play down the consequences of the withdrawal that surprised many of its allies.
Mike Pompeo presented the withdrawal on Saturday as a purely "tactical" decision that does not change the strategy of the Trump administration, because on Thursday in a speech in Cairo he refused every withdrawal from the Middle East.
As for the promise to "drive away" Iranian troops and militias from Syria "through diplomacy", the State Secretary acknowledged that this was an "ambitious goal". "But it is ours, it is our mission," he confirmed.
"The fact that about 2,000 soldiers will be withdrawn from Syria is a tactical change, which has no material effect on our ability to carry out the necessary military actions," he said.