US and Turkish military forces conduct ground patrol in north-east Syria
Syria

Britain 'Not Consulted' Over Decision To Withdraw US Troops From Syria

US President Donald Trump's move ended years of American-Kurdish cooperation in Syria.

US and Turkish military forces conduct ground patrol in north-east Syria

The Defence Secretary says the UK was not consulted about President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw US troops from Syria.

During a Defence Select Committee, Ben Wallace admitted Britain received no advance warning of the decision.

When asked about what the UK's response was to not being consulted, Mr Wallace said: "We do, however, speak regularly both at tactical strategic level, and very quickly I spoke to my counterpart in both Turkey, and indeed, the United States."

Mr Trump made the announcement earlier this month, which preceded a Turkish offensive in the absence of American soldiers.

The US and Turkey then brokered a deal to a five-day ceasefire on 17 October.

On Tuesday, Turkey and Russia's leaders agreed to take control of part of the north Syrian border.

Kurdish fighters were given 150 hours to withdraw 30 kilometres from the boundary with Turkey, from midday on Wednesday.

The Kremlin warned Kurdish fighters would be "steamrolled" by Turkish forces if they do not pull back from the entire area.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also said his military would resume its offensive against the Kurds if the new arrangement is not followed through.

Russian military police have begun patrols on the Syrian border.

Smoke rises from the Syrian city of Ras al Ain following an attack from Turkey 101019 CREDIT PA
Smoke rises from Syrian city of Ras al-Ayn following an attack during Turkish offensive on 10 October (Picture: PA).

It comes after five hours of talks in the Russian city of Sochi on Tuesday, at which Turkish President Erdogan, and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed their countries' joint patrols will operate within 10 kilometres of the border.

It was also announced the safe return of Syrian refugees would be a focal point of the co-operation, President Erdogan said.

Kurdish fighters completed their withdrawal from part of the Syrian-Turkish border as required by the US-Turkey ceasefire that was to expire on Tuesday night.

American soldiers battled alongside Kurdish-led fighters for five years.

They were successful in defeating the Islamic State group across a third of Syria at the cost of thousands of Kurdish fighters' lives.