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"Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds", he added, while pushing for the creation of a 30km "safe zone".

Speaking in the United Arab Emirates, Mr Pompeo said he thought it would be possible to reach an agreement which would allow the Turks to defend themselves from terror threats while protecting Kurds - who have been fighting alongside USA troops - against the so-called Islamic State group.

President Donald Trump said the United States will "devastate Turkey economically" if the country attacks Kurdish fighters in Syria.

On Saturday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he was optimistic Syrian Kurds could be protected while also assuring Turkey of its right to defend itself against what it sees as terrorists.

The US-led coalition on Saturday fired more than 20 missiles against jihadist positions, the observatory said.

"Turkey fights against terrorists, not Kurds".

Trump did not detail who would create, enforce or pay for the safe zone, or where it would be located. "They understand that there are squabbles in Washington, but their mission remains, their duties continue and they're executing them".

Trump said the removal of troops, which he announced via Twitter in December, is happening "while hitting the little remaining ISIS territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions".

In his tweets Sunday, Trump also mentioned striking the Islamic State from an "existing nearby base" if the group reappears after the U.S. withdrawal, something analysts have feared if USA forces hastily leave the country.

Earlier, US Department of Defense Spokesperson Dana White confirmed earlier that the United States are pulling out their troops from Syria, adding that the US military is transitioning to the next phase of their campaign against ISIS.

After media reports suggesting the departure of U.S. forces had begun, the Pentagon later said no troops had yet withdrawn and stressed that the battle against ISIS was continuing as US-backed forces try to capture the group's last remaining pockets of territory in Syria. "We also benefit but it is now time to bring our troops back home".

The delay has restricted Turkey's ability to launch an offensive against the YPG, a group of Kurdish fighters it considers terrorists, but who served as allies to the USA coalition to defeat Islamic State. Erdogan also canceled a meeting with Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton.

Turkey says the YPG is tied to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which has been fighting a long guerrilla war for more Kurdish autonomy inside Turkey.


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