US troops stay in southern Syria for indefinite period,


United States National Security Advisor John Bolton has warned the Syrian government it should not see the impending U.S. military withdrawal from the country as an invitation to use chemical weapons.

A missile attack by the Islamic State group in eastern Syria killed at least one Kurdish fighter and wounded two British soldiers embedded with them, according to reports Sunday, amid fierce fighting in the strategic area near the Iraqi border.

Mr Bolton, who travelled to Israel to reassure the USA ally of the Trump-ordered withdrawal, said there is no timetable for the pull-out of American forces in north-eastern Syria, but insisted it's not an unlimited commitment.

The pullout announcedon December 19 was initially expected to be completed within weeks, but the timetable has slowed as the president acceded to requests from aides, allies and members of US Congress for a more orderly withdrawal.

Bolton made his comments while on a visit to Jerusalem, where he is meeting with Israeli officials to explain Donald Trump's sudden announcement last month that American forces stationed in Syria would be coming home.

Those conditions, he said, included the defeat of remnants of IS in Syria, and protections for Kurdish militias who have fought alongside U.S. troops against the extremist group.

Israeli officials have expressed concern that a swift withdrawal of the roughly 2,000 troops could enable Iran to expand its influence and presence in war-torn Syria. "I never said we're doing it that quickly".

The national security adviser also toured the ancient tunnels beneath the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City.

United States border force fires tear gas at migrants crossing from Mexico
The incursion took place at a spot where there is border fencing, but it's a very old version that's relatively easy to penetrate. An AP photographer at the scene said the migrants began throwing rocks after the tear gas was sacked .

Bolton said the US wants its Kurdish allies in Syria protected from any planned Turkish offensive - a warning to be delivered to Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

A local fighter, a Kurd from the YPG militia which dominates the Syrian Democratic Forces, was killed when a counter-attacking Isis unit fired what local commanders said was a heat-seeking missile at the group on Saturday morning.

The prime minister added that he meant to discuss a number of important issues with US National Security Adviser John Bolton later in the day.

"The US' foreign policy has been in disarray ever since Trump has become president", he told Al Jazeera.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, the incoming chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told ABC's "This Week" that the conditions raised by Bolton were "obvious", and Smith criticized the conflicting messages from the Trump administration.

Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Turkey's targets are the YPG, the PKK and IS.

Joost Hiltermann, Middle East and North Africa Program Director for the International Crisis Group, said the latest United States move showed a lack of "coherent policy" on the Middle East. He defended the legal basis for the deployment, adding it's justified by the president's Constitutional authority;"I'm a strong believer in Article II". He watched a virtual reality tour of the historic site and dined there with his Israeli equivalent, as well as with US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Israel's Ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer.

Israel annexed East Jerusalem after capturing it from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War, a move not recognized by most of the worldwide community.