U.S. must retrieve arms from Kurds: Erdogan

<p style="text-align: left;">Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he does not believe the United States will take back weapons from Kurdish militias in Syria.

In an interview with Turkish broadcaster NTV, Erdogan stressed the need for the United States to take back weapons from Kurdish groups in Manbij.

&ldquo;The generals with him said that they have the serial numbers, and they will collect the weapons when all is done. I do not find this sincere,&rdquo; Erdogan said on Tuesday.

&ldquo;If this withdrawal becomes a stalling method, our approach will be different,&rdquo; he said, adding that 200 to 400 soldiers may stay, and 500 may stay from other US-led coalition forces.

A White House statement said the two leaders agreed, regarding Syria, to &ldquo;continue coordinating on the creation of a potential safe zone.&rdquo;

&ldquo;What is important to us is that Turkey will control the secure zone,&rdquo; Erdogan said on Tuesday. &ldquo;We cannot leave the control to neither Germany nor France or America. I clearly told this to them.&rdquo;

Last week, the United States said it would leave a small peacekeeping group of 200 American troops in Syria for a period of time after a US pullout. A commander of US-backed Syrian forces called for 1,000 to 1,500 international troops to remain in the country to help fight IS, and expressed hope the United States, in particular, would halt plans for a total pullout.

The decision to withdraw was announced after Trump spoke by phone to Erdogan.

Earlier this month, a senior US Army general said the United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces following the planned US withdrawal from Syria.

In December, President Donald Trump confounded his own national security team with a surprise decision to withdraw all 2,000 US troops from Syria, declaring that is had been defeated there.

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