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Will US exit from Syria change terrain of Turkey's road map?

President Donald Trump's abrupt announcement that he will pull US troops out of Syria has Turkey reassessing the situation.

For almost four years, Ankara’s supreme priority in northern Syria has been to erode, if not totally eliminate, the military capacity of Kurdish militias it considers to be terrorists or terrorist-linked — specifically the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the People's Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey says is the PKK's Syrian offshoot.

The only barrier for Turkey appeared to be Washington, which has worked with the YPG in the fight against the Islamic State (IS). But now President Donald Trump has said he will withdraw US troops from northeast Syria. His Dec. 19 announcement not only surprised but also perplexed Ankara. A US exit could give Turkey the chance to grab a bigger piece of the northeast Syria pie — but many in Ankara are fully aware of the need for caution and prudence, because those who bite off more than they can chew can easily choke.

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