U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday he was optimistic that a “good outcome” could be reached between Turkey and Syrian Kurdish groups, after speaking to the Turkish foreign minister.
“We recognize the Turkish people’s right to defend their country from terrorists, but we also know that those … who are not terrorists and fighting alongside us for all this time deserve to be protected,” Pompeo told reporters.
“There are many details to be worked out but I am optimistic we can achieve a good outcome,” he said.
Relations between the two NATO allies have been strained over U.S. backing for the Kurdish YPG, which Turkey views as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) waging a decades-long insurgency on Turkish soil.
Pompeo said his phone call with Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu involved several elements of U.S.-Turkey relations, including Syria and the detention of Americans in Turkey.
He said the U.S. envoy for Syria, Jim Jeffrey, had traveled to northeast Syria this week and would soon go to Ankara for talks, including on moving forward a UN-led political process to end the eight-year long conflict in Syria.
He suggested that talks between Damascus and the Syrian Kurds could be part of a broader political solution in Syria.
“We hope we can turn the corner here,” Pompeo added.
Kurdish-led groups who control swathes of northern Syria fear an attack from Turkey in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from their region. Turkey sees the Kurdish YPG militia close to its border as a security threat.
Trump’s decision to withdraw the troops hinges on Turkey’s cooperation to secure the northern border. But Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to crush the Kurdish groups that have been effective in defeating Islamic State in Syria.
Speaking in Abu Dhabi as part of a regional tour, Pompeo said the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria was a “tactical change” but the mission to destroy Islamic State and counter Iran’s influence remained the same.
In a speech in Cairo on Thursday, Pompeo vowed that the United States would “expel every last Iranian boot” from Syria, where Tehran is supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“It’s an ambitious objective, but it is ours, and it is our mission,” he added.
The speech sought to lay out the Trump administration’s strategy for the Middle East and criticized former U.S. President Barack Obama, without naming him, for “fundamental misunderstandings” about the Middle East.
Pompeo said on Saturday the speech had not taken aim at individuals but rather the ideas of the previous administration, adding that the Obama-era policies opened the way for Islamic State and the spread of Iran’s influence in the region
Impressionism’s ‘forgotten woman’ shines in new Paris show
The first major show of Berthe Morisot's paintings in France in nearly 80 years puts the forgotten woman of Impressionism back at the centre of the movement she helped found.
One damning review of the first exhibition by the group that would revolutionise art blasted that it was no more than "five or six lunatics of which one is a woman ...[whose] feminine grace is maintained amid the outpourings of a delirious mind."
That 1874 show included such soon-to-be art giants as Monet and Manet, whose brother Eugene later married Morisot.
Scientists find earliest clues of Parkinson’s in brain
Scientists said Thursday they had found the earliest signs of Parkinson's disease in the brain years before patients show any symptoms, a discovery that could eventually lead to better screening for at-risk people.
Parkinson's, a neurodegenerative disorder that causes patients movement and cognitive problems, is estimated to effect up to 10 million people worldwide.
It is diagnosed by a build-up in the brain of a specific protein, a-synuclein, the cause of which is unclear.
However some people are born with a genetic mutation that makes them almost certain to develop the disease at some stage in their life.
‘Out of his depth’: Trump holding back on Iran because he understands it’s harder than ‘swinging’ at a primary foe
During a discussion on news that Iran has shot down a U.S. drone over international airspace on CNN, New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman explained that Donald Trump is in no rush to respond militarily because, for once, he knows he's "out of his depth."
Speaking with hosts John Berman and Alisyn Camerota, Habermann said that the president will likely get advice from national security adviser John Bolton to push back militarily, but that Trump doesn't seem interested in taking on as large a task as going to war.
"He usually responds to a provocation when it's a smaller thing that he can punch and knock down," Haberman explained. "He's pretty aware he can't actually do that with Iran. So I don't think you're going to see the typical, you know, as if he were swinging back at a primary foe. I think he is going to actually be a little more careful in what he says."