"Continued strategic threats to the USA from not just the Islamic State and Al Qaeda persist, and this threat I am referring to principally is Iran", Tillerson said on Wednesday, adding, "In short, Syria remains a source of severe strategic threats."Tillerson was speaking on the campus of Stanford University before an audience that included former Secretaries of State George Shultz and Condoleezza Rice, CNN reported".
Ties between Washington and Ankara have lately been strained over USA support for the Syrian Democratic forces, led by the Kurdish YPG militia, fighting ISIL in northern Syria. "That is not what we're doing", adding that the USA owes Turkey an explanation.
"We are not creating a border force", Tillerson told reporters after he met with Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, in Vancouver earlier this week.
"We can not make the same mistakes that were made in 2011, when a premature departure from Iraq allowed Al-Qaeda in Iraq to survive and eventually morph into ISIS", he said.
There are controversial statements coming from the USA, said Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on January 18 regarding US support for the Kurdish militia on Turkey-Syria borders. "But on the other hand I've actually concluded that's not a bad system because it goes out and I don't know it's going to go out, so there's not a whole lot I'm going to do until it's out there", Tillerson said at an event at Stanford University, speaking with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
"Self-correcting statements were made by the US officials over the course of three days", Yıldırım said in the Turkish capital.
Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist group due to its link to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
Photo Syrians walked through a neighborhood destroyed in the fight against the Islamic State in the northern city of Raqqa this month.
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The Pentagon said the SDF force is not a new "army" or conventional "border guard" force.
The United States has deployed around 2,000 ground troops to Syria and its warplanes patrol over the east of the country, hunting remnants of the Islamic State group. "The training is created to enhance security for displaced persons returning to their devastated communities", Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said in a written statement sent to state-run Anadolu Agency, as Turkey readies to launch an operation against Afrin to clear the area of elements it considers terrorist.
"We will continue to be completely transparent with Turkey about our efforts in Syria to defeat ISIS and stand by our North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally in its counter-terrorism efforts", it added.
"It is crucial for our national interest to maintain a military and diplomatic presence in Syria", Tillerson said in a speech on U.S. policy in this conflict at Stanford University, California.
"It is also essential so that ISIS can not reemerge in liberated and ungoverned areas".
In Syria, the United States also is contending with disagreements with close partner Turkey. "These forces will augment local security in liberated areas and protect local populations", the statement said, referring to ISIS by its Arabic acronym.
According to the coalition, it is working with its militia allies in Syria to build a new border force, which will number 30,000 personnel, half of which will be SDF veterans.