By Umar Farooq
Elimination of remnants of the Daesh terror group in Syria and the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the region should be directed in a coordinated manner, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Wednesday.
Cavusoglu spoke in Washington at a meeting of foreign ministers as part of the global coalition to defeat Daesh and while he noted the defeat of the terrorist group he urged countries to prevent its resurgence.
"Avoidance of power vacuums that could be exploited by terrorists to undermine Syria’s territorial integrity and neighbors’ national security will be essential," said Cavusoglu.
"Daesh has been defeated in Iraq and will inevitably face same destiny in Syria. What’s important now is to prevent its resurgence and to help stabilize these countries. It takes addressing the root causes of this scourge effectively and avoidance of the repetition of past mistakes," he said.
U.S. President Donald Trump made the unexpected decision in December to withdraw 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria, sparking criticism from many allies and security aides, including his own Cabinet.
The decision came after a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in which the two leaders agreed on the need for more effective coordination in the war-ravaged country.
Cavusoglu noted efforts for reconstruction in Iraq and "rebuilding the Iraqi identity within an inclusive political system" are vital to stabilizing the country.
"Having put its troops in harm’s way in the fight against terrorism in Syria, and facilitated the return of hundreds of thousands of refugees to the liberated areas, Turkey is ready to do whatever it takes to help stabilize both Iraq and Syria," Cavusoglu said.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo emphasized to the coalition the U.S. will also continue to work toward stability in Iraq and Syria.
"President Trump’s announcement that U.S. troops will be withdrawing from Syria is not the end of America’s fight. We will continue to wage alongside of you," he told coalition members. "It simply represents a new stage in an old fight."
The 79-member coalition was founded in 2014 to reduce the threat the terrorist group posed to international security. Its goals are to diminish Daesh’s military capability, territorial control, leadership, financial resources and online influence.
Trump is expected to deliver remarks at the afternoon session.
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