US seeks to ensure “Turks don’t slaughter the Kurds” in Syria

Washington: The US has asserted that it will ensure that the “Turks don’t slaughter the Kurds” in Syria amid the exit of US troops in the strife-torn region.

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo made these comments in an interview with a local media outlet on January 3 (local time).

“Our troops are coming out. The President (Donald Trump) also made very clear that we needed to continue the counter-ISIS campaign, and we needed to continue to ensure that we did the things to create stability throughout the Middle East,” the Secretary of State remarked.

Pompeo also stated that the US seeks to ensure that the “Turks don’t slaughter the Kurds” in Syria once US troops make an exit from the region.

“The counter-Iran campaign continues. We’ll do all of those things. We’ll continue to achieve those outcomes. We will simply do it at a time when the American forces have departed Syria,” he said.

Pompeo also talked about relations with Russia during the interview. “This administration’s been incredibly strong in responding to Russian actions…We’ve sanctioned senior Russian leaders. We’ve provided defensive weapon systems in Ukraine, something the previous administration refused to do,” he highlighted.

“We’ve pushed back against Russian malign behaviour, all the while trying to develop a relationship with them that could prevent us from having to do anything that’s more serious than that,” he stated when asked of US’ response in the case of Russia taking “more territory in the Ukraine”.

He also refuted claims of the start of a new cold war era, while mentioning that conversations held between the two nations aim at making “Russians…behave in a way that’s consistent with the rule of law”.

Pompeo also put forth that the US would continue to urge Russia to comply with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, underscoring that it would make “no sense” to stay in a two-party treaty where only one party is complying.

The Secretary of State’s comments come at a time when there are mounting tensions between the US and Russia with the threat of the nullification of the INF treaty looming large. The dissolution of the treaty has the potential to launch another arms race between the two nations which was until now restricted due to the accord.

Meanwhile, the US troop exit from Syria has set forth speculations that Russia’s and Iran’s influence may grow in the region.