U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his wife Susan arrive at Abu Dhabi International Airport in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool Photo via AP)

Pompeo confident of US deal with Turkey to protect Kurds

January 12, 2019 - 8:57 am

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (pahm-PAY'-oh) says he's confident the United States and Turkey can agree on a way to protect Kurdish rebels in Syria after the American troop withdrawal.

Pompeo has spoken to Turkey's foreign minister and says a possible agreement is a work in progress. Pompeo says it can be achieved so as to allow the Turks to defend their country while leaving alone Kurds who don't pose a threat.

Pompeo says he's "optimistic" that Kurds who fought alongside U.S. forces against the Islamic State group in Syria won't be abandoned.

Turkey considers many of Syria's Kurdish groups to be terrorists and has pledged to attack them. The threats have intensified as the U.S. begins the withdrawal process from Syria on President Donald Trump's orders.