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A police band serenaded Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, who presided over the celebration before meeting Pompeo in private.

The reassurances followed a diplomatic storm caused by Trump's surprise announcement in December that appeared to signal a rapid withdrawal from Syria, where USA special forces play an important role in supporting local forces fighting IS. Experts following the movements of ISIS fighters quickly rebuked that claim.

Erdogan's blunt words, made from a Justice and Development Party (AK Party) parliamentary group meeting at the Grand National Assembly in Turkey's capital, signal Ankara's growing unease in response to signs that the U.S. may be walking back on plans to withdraw its forces from northern Syria, as Trump announced last month.

"It's time for old rivalries to end, for the sake of the greater good of the region", said Pompeo at a keynote address in Cairo.

The U.S. has about 5,000 troops in Iraq, and Trump said on his visit that he had no intention to bring them home as he's signaled he'll do with the 2,000 American soldiers in Syria.

According to the American Foreign Service Association, a union that represents US diplomats and tracks ambassador appointments, over 40 ambassador posts of a total of 188 remain empty.

Mr Bolton said on Sunday he would be seeking assurances from Ankara they would not attack the YPG as a condition to a USA withdrawal - which Mr Trump had failed to address during a December phone call with Mr Erdoğan - in a bid to salvage relations with the Kurds.

Last month, Erdogan threatened to launch a cross-border operation against the YPG, east of the Euphrates River, which he said later would be delayed after Trump's pullout order.

On the other side of the ledger is America's honor, its level of trustworthiness and respect in the world, its ability to enlist allies in future fights against terrorism, and its ability to make sure ISIS is well and truly crushed in Syria.

The Kurdish administration in northern Syria has warned it will not be able to hold its prisoners if Turkish forces attack their territory, according to Rudaw, a Kurdish news agency based in Irbil, the capital of Iraq's Kurdish region.

National security adviser John Bolton returned Tuesday from a meeting in Turkey, where he was seeking a guarantee of safety for the Kurdish fighters who have fought alongside U.S. troops against the IS.

An official at Tuesday's meeting between Bolton and senior Turkish officials said presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin stated that Erdogan committed that Turkey would not take offensive action while US forces were there.

However, Bolton's remarks on the Kurdish matter had infuriated Ankara.

"We can not make any concessions in this regard", said Erdogan, who vowed that "those involved in a terror corridor" in Syria "will receive the necessary punishment". "We will not compromise".

However, it is not yet clear how this can happen, since it will require a decision of the Arab League to annul a previous decision adopted in the heyday of the Arab Spring that froze Syria's membership of the Arab organisation in protest against its aggressive quelling of then peaceful demonstrations for democracy. The Kurds have refused to prosecute them as they are doing with locals, Rudaw reported.

In its 30-year terrorist campaign, the PKK has taken some 40,000 lives, including women and children.

Ankara has long criticized the US for working with the PYD/YPG to fight ISIL in Syria, saying that using one terror group to fight another makes no sense. Those convicted received sentences averaging about 10 years, but many have received leniency for cooperating with authorities and offering information on ISIS, he said. All but one of them were elementary school-aged children who had not been involved in acts of violence.

Pompeo says that the age of self-inflicted American shame is over.

The circumstances of how the teen came to be fighting for ISIS will factor into how prosecutors treat his case.


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