JERUSALEM—The Trump administration won’t withdraw forces from northern Syria unless Turkey offers a firm commitment not to target the U.S.’s Kurdish allies, White House national security adviser John Bolton said Sunday.
President Trump’s order to withdraw U.S. troops is a “cause-and-effect mission” that requires certain assurances from various players in the region before it can be executed, said Mr. Bolton, the first administration official to outline the conditions for withdrawal.
His comments marked the first public acknowledgment from the White House that the safety of Kurdish allies is being considered as part of its pending withdrawal plan, but it also indicates that a quick withdrawal was unlikely given challenging regional dynamics.
“Timetables or the timing of the withdrawal occurs as a result of the fulfillment of the conditions and the establishment of the circumstances that we want to see,” he said. “It’s not the establishment of an arbitrary point for the withdrawal to take place as President Obama did in the Afghan situation…the timetable flows from the policy decisions that we need to implement.”
Mr. Trump reaffirmed on Sunday his commitment to withdrawing U.S. troops, though he said “we won’t be finally pulled out until [Islamic State] is gone.”