US seeks to prevent Turkey 'slaughtering' Syrian Kurds: Pompeo

<p style="text-align: left;">US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview on Thursday that Washington's key priority will be the avoidance of the regional massacre between the Turkish military and Kurds.

U.S. President Donald Trump's sudden declaration that U.S. forces would withdraw entirely from their deployment in areas mainly in north east Syria shocked the world on December 19, and prompted Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis and the U.S. envoy leading the anti-Islamic State coalition, Brett McGurk, to resign.

"We still have lots of things to work with on the Turks," Pompeo told Newsmax on Thursday. "Not only the withdrawal, but all of the other elements that the President laid out: the importance of ensuring that the Turks don&rsquo;t slaughter the Kurds; the protection of religious minorities there in Syria. All of those things are still part of the American mission set."

Trump has faced tremendous pressure to protect US-backed Kurdish forces belonging to the People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, the most effective American-backed force in liberating the city of Raqqa and other areas seized by the Islamic State terrorist group.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a critic of US withdrawal plans, has also said that Trump personally assured him that the fate of Kurdish militias would be considered in withdrawing American forces.

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