President Donald Trump spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday about a “negotiated solution” for Syria, where the withdrawal of US troops has alarmed Kurdish allies of America who are considered terrorists by the Turks, The Associated Press reported.
In the phone call Trump “underscored the importance of defeating terrorist elements that remain in Syria,” the White House said.
Turkey is ready to assume responsibility for security in Syria’s Manbij without delay, Erdoğan told Trump, according to Turkish presidency sources.
Ankara has been planning a military operation in Kurdish-held Manbij city.
About 2,000 US troops have been fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in northeast Syria with the help of Kurdish fighters, near the border with Turkey. The administration has begun withdrawing those forces, with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence asserting that the terrorist group is all but destroyed.
“The two leaders agreed to continue to pursue a negotiated solution for northeast Syria that achieves our respective security concerns,” the White House said.
Trump has warned the US could devastate Turkey’s economy with sanctions if Ankara takes action against the Kurds.
The White House said both leaders “discussed their mutual interest in expanding the trade relationship between the United States and Turkey.”
Erdoğan also expressed his condolences for the loss of four Americans, including two US soldiers, killed in a terrorist attack last week in Manbij.
ISIL has claimed responsibility.