Wed, 20 Nov 2019

US Reassures Israel on Efforts to Counter Iran Amid Syria Turmoil

Voice of America
19 Oct 2019, 04:05 GMT+10

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reaffirmed U.S.-Israel ties and joint efforts to counter Iran, in talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, amid concerns in Israel that Tehran could exploit a U.S. military pullback in Syria.

"We talked about all the efforts we've made to push back against the threat not only to Israel but to the region and the world from the Islamic Republic of Iran, and we shared our ideas about how we can ensure Middle East stability together, and how we would further our efforts to jointly combat all the challenges that the world confronts here in the Middle East," said Pompeo after his meeting with Netanyahu.

The meeting comes a day after a U.S. delegation, led by Vice President Mike Pence, reached an agreement with Turkey for Ankara to pause its military offensive against Kurdish forces in northeast Syria for five days.

Turkey Agrees to Halt in Offensive on Kurdish Fighters in Northern Syria 120-hour halt in conflict occurs day after Trump dismissed importance of outcome of fighting to United States

"We hope things will turn out for the best," Netanyahu said Friday, without elaborating, when asked about the cease-fire deal brokered by the United States, and if the cessation of hostilities will hold between Turkey and Syria's Kurds.

Turkey's incursion into northeast Syria came after a partial U.S. withdrawal of troops. Turkey views Kurdish fighters as terrorists, alleging their links to an insurgency group inside Turkey. But Kurdish fighters have fought alongside U.S. forces in the battle against the Islamic State terror group in Syria.

Israel has strongly condemned the offensive. Netanyahu has warned of an "ethnic cleansing" against the Kurds.

Pompeo heads to Brussels for meetings with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg after the stop in Israel.

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