National Security Advisor John Bolton to Negotiate for the Safety of U.S.-Allied Kurds in Syria

January 7, 2019, 9:31 PM UTC

National Security Advisor John Bolton arrived in Ankara, Turkey Monday to negotiate for the safety of the U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters in Syria, a group Turkey’s government regards as terrorists.

Bolton said Sunday that U.S. forces will remain in Syria until the Islamic State organization is defeated. Were the U.S. forces to withdraw, the Kurdish allies could be left exposed to attacks from Turkey. According to Al Jazeera, Turkey has led two operations in northern Syria since 2015 targeting the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

The YPG has close ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)—which has been in a violent ongoing war with Turkey since 1984—leading the Turkish government to regard both groups as terrorist organizations.

The U.S. has helped arm and train the YPG, which has helped lead the U.S.-allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the fight against the terrorist organization known as the Islamic State.

“We don’t think the Turks ought to undertake military action that’s not fully coordinated with and agreed to by the United States,” Bolton told reporters on Sunday, Al Jazeera reports, adding that the president requires that “the Syrian opposition forces that have fought with us are not endangered.”

Later this week, Jim Jeffrey, the U.S. special representative for Syria and the anti-ISIL coalition, will fly to Syria to let Kurdish fighters know the country will continue to support them, Al Jazeera reports.