Turkey rejects U.S. request to spare allied Kurds in Syria

/ CBS/AP

Bolton in Turkey for talks on Syria

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton was set to depart Turkey on Tuesday without meeting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in an apparent snub over disagreements about Kurdish fighters in Syria. A U.S. official had said over the weekend that the two were expected to have consultations on Tuesday about the fate of Kurds allied with the United States in Syria as part of discussions about President Donald Trump's troop draw-down from the country.

National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis said U.S. officials were told Erdogan cited local election season and a speech to parliament for not meeting with Bolton.

In the speech to parliament Tuesday, Erdogan criticized the U.S. position that the Kurds must be protected, reiterating his government's position that they are a terrorist group.

Turkey "cannot make any concessions"

Erdogan said Turkey's preparations for a new military offensive against what he called the terror groups in Syria were, "to a large extent" complete.

Erdogan made the comments just hours after Bolton met with Turkish officials seeking assurances that Turkey won't attack the U.S-allied Kurdish militiamen and women in Syria.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he delivers a speech to MPs of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) at the parliament in Ankara, Turkey, Jan. 8, 2019. AP

Erdogan called Bolton's remarks that the Kurds' safety must be guaranteed "unacceptable," and said Ankara "cannot make any concessions. Those involved in a terror corridor (in Syria) will receive the necessary punishment."

Turkey insists its military actions are aimed at Kurdish fighters in Syria whom it regards as terrorists and not against the Kurdish people.

Why the Kurds' fate matters to the U.S.

President Trump stunned U.S. allies and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in Washington last month when he announced that ISIS was defeated and all 2,000 American troops in Syria were, "coming back now."

Bolton's remarks over the weekend, hinging the U.S. withdrawal on a final defeat of ISIS and security for the Kurdish fighters, dramatically shifted the White House policy.

Although Mr. Trump insisted on Monday that he hadn't changed his mind about pulling troops out of Syria, CBS News senior national security correspondent David Martin reported that the new withdrawal timetable is dramatically different: When Mr. Trump first made the announcement it was 30 days, then it stretched to 120, but with Bolton's remarks it was clear the commitment had become open-ended.

Bolton states conditions for Syria withdrawal, contradicting Trump

Erdogan's refusal to bow to U.S. pressure on the Kurdish fighters all but obligates Mr. Trump to leave American troops in northern Syria, alongside their partners, as a buffer against any Turkish aggression.

And as Martin reported, the fighting continues on the ground as the U.S. backed forces close in on the last ISIS strongholds in Syria. In the course of that fight, the Kurds recently captured an American citizen, Warren Christopher Clark, a Houston resident who joined the Islamic extremists.

Clark is now one of more than 700 captured foreign fighters held by U.S.-backed forces in Syria.

If the U.S. were to pull out of Syria abruptly, Martin says all those fighters would almost certainly be released, and able to return to the battlefield.

First published on January 8, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Turkey US Syria

CEO of scandal-ridden nursing facility quits; new allegations emerge

Bill Timmons quit days after baby was born to woman patient in vegetative state; CBS affiliate reports claim that he covered up prior incident

updated 4M ago

Unlikely visitor in hospital building in Anchorage — a moose

Massive animal's brief stay was caught on video

2H ago

Parolee arrested in deadly shooting at Southern California bowling alley

Reginald Wallace, 47, was taken into custody Sunday by police after three people were fatally hit in a Friday night incident at Gable House Bowl in Torrance, Calif.

6H ago

Clemson wins college football championship, routs Alabama 44-16

Tigers hand Crimson Tide their worst loss ever under coach Nick Saban in winning second national title in three years, capping perfect 15-0 season

5H ago

N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Hillary Clinton tout stronger abortion rights

The Democrats shared the stage Monday at Barnard College in Manhattan to urge the codifying of abortion rights in New York state law

7H ago

Turkey rejects U.S. request to spare allied Kurds in Syria

John Bolton set to depart Turkey without meeting leader in apparent snub over disagreements about U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters

updated 5M ago

N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Hillary Clinton tout stronger abortion rights

The Democrats shared the stage Monday at Barnard College in Manhattan to urge the codifying of abortion rights in New York state law

7H ago

Democratic congresswoman after border visit: Trump administration fabricating national security crisis

Rep. Nanette Barragán accused the president of misleading the American public to build his proposed border barrier

7H ago

Trump to make prime time address on border security

It will be President Trump's first prime time address from the Oval Office

9H ago

All ex-presidents refute Trump's claim of wall support

President Trump claimed "some" former presidents told him they privately support the idea. All of them have said otherwise.

12H ago

Turkey rejects U.S. request to spare allied Kurds in Syria

John Bolton set to depart Turkey without meeting leader in apparent snub over disagreements about U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters

updated 5M ago

Kim Jong Un's China visit a "stepping stone" for 2nd Trump summit?

North Korean leader likely trying to sync message with his most vital ally ahead of another expected sit-down with Trump

1H ago

Meet the domestic violence survivors hunting poachers in Zimbabwe

Abused and disadvantaged women have become Zimbabwe's hidden weapon against poachers who kill elephants and rhinos for their tusks and horns

12H ago

The songs that got explorer through solo Antarctic trek

British army captain Lou Rudd became one of just two men who have successfully skied across the frozen continent

18H ago

Malala Yousafzai amplifies voices of refugee girls in new book

The Nobel Peace Prize winner also says Trump's border wall "does not reflect the values of America"

18H ago

Jackson endorses congresswoman's use of "motherf*****"

"I just wanna Wholeheartedly endorse your use of & clarity of purpose when declaring your (expletive) goal," the actor told Tlaib on Twitter

11H ago

Stars break gender norms at Golden Globes

When male stars hit the red carpet in sheer and sparkly tops, eye makeup and heels, it can be a beacon of light for trans youth throughout America

14H ago

Christian Bale thanks Satan at Golden Globes

After saying he portrayed a charisma-free man reviled by everyone in "Vice," Bale suggested, "What do you think, Mitch McConnell next?"

17H ago

Golden Globes 2019: Full list of winners

Glenn Close won best film actress in a drama for "The Wife;" Christian Bale won best comedy actor for "Vice"

17H ago

Golden Globe Awards 2019: Winners and highlights

"Bohemian Rhapsody" was the big winner at the 76th annual Golden Globe Awards on Sunday

10H ago

Amazon surpasses Microsoft as most valuable U.S. company

Stock market's recent turmoil has shifted the fortunes of America's biggest companies as Apple falls to No. 4

10H ago

Running blind

A rare condition that left Simon Wheatcroft completely blind by age 27 has not slowed the marathon runner down, as he tests new technologies he hopes will help the visually-impaired

Jan 6

Everything you need to know about CES 2019

CES 2019 is days away. Here's how to follow the show

10H ago

AT&T makes new predictions about technology's future

25 years ago, an AT&T ad campaign made bold predictions about the future. A generation later, the company has a new set of them

Jan 5

L.A. sues Weather Channel over app users’ data

The Weather Channel app may be sharing your location data with advertisers without your consent, according to a lawsuit by the Los Angeles city attorney

Jan 4

N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Hillary Clinton tout stronger abortion rights

The Democrats shared the stage Monday at Barnard College in Manhattan to urge the codifying of abortion rights in New York state law

7H ago

Income volatility is bad for your wallet — and health

Unpredictable changes in Americans' income are on the rise and associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease

11H ago

Is it a cold or flu? 5 questions to ask yourself

Here are some simple ways to help determine whether your illness is a cold or the flu

17H ago

22-year-old with deadly disease loses disability insurance

Social Security sent Megan Willis a letter saying her health had improved and that she was able to work. It was news to her.

Jan 5

Do sugar-free sweeteners really help you lose weight?

Researchers reviewed more than 50 studies and found little evidence of any health benefits

Jan 3

Amazon surpasses Microsoft as most valuable U.S. company

Stock market's recent turmoil has shifted the fortunes of America's biggest companies as Apple falls to No. 4

10H ago

Trump administration claims tax refunds will still go out

The IRS says many workers who have been furloughed will be called back to help with the refunds

5H ago

Income volatility is bad for your wallet — and health

Unpredictable changes in Americans' income are on the rise and associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease

11H ago

Does Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez want to "soak the rich"?

The youngest woman ever elected to Congress wants to raise the tax rate on top earners to as much as 70 percent

14H ago

Disneyland hikes ticket prices again–cheapest daily fee over $100

The latest round of increases — of up to 25 percent — comes ahead of a new Star Wars-themed expansion

19H ago

CEO of scandal-ridden nursing facility quits; new allegations emerge

Bill Timmons quit days after baby was born to woman patient in vegetative state; CBS affiliate reports claim that he covered up prior incident

updated 4M ago

Parolee arrested in deadly shooting at Southern California bowling alley

Reginald Wallace, 47, was taken into custody Sunday by police after three people were fatally hit in a Friday night incident at Gable House Bowl in Torrance, Calif.

6H ago

2nd suspect questioned in shooting death of 7-year-old girl

Jazmine Barnes was killed in a drive-by shooting

8H ago

Clemency granted to woman convicted of murder as teen

Kim Kardashian West, Rihanna and other celebrities rallied for Cyntoia Brown, who said she was a victim of sex trafficking

13H ago

Man charged in killing of dad who was camping with daughters

Anthony Rauda, 42, is also accused of trying to kill 10 others in a series of shootings over the past two years

16H ago