Pompeo to visit Israel, Belgium after trip to Turkey

By Servet Gunerigok

WASHINGTON (AA) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Israel and Belgium on Friday and Saturday, respectively, after visiting Turkey.

Currently en route to Ankara, Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence will hold talks Thursday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Turkey’s operation in northeastern Syria.

Pompeo will meet with key leaders and discuss longstanding alliances, according to State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus.

On Friday, the top diplomat will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “discuss developments in Syria and the continued need to counter the Iranian regime’s destabilizing behavior in the region,” Ortagus said in a statement.

Pompeo will then travel to Brussels and meet NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

The two men will discuss “Transatlantic security issues and U.S. goals for the upcoming NATO Foreign Ministerial and Leaders Meeting.”

Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring on Oct. 9 to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.

Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union — has been responsible for deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
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