Iran will capitalize on the potential Kurdish loss of control over important Syrian oil fields following a U.S. withdrawal from Syria. Senior regime officials have remained silent following U.S. President Donald Trump’s December 19th announcement that U.S. forces will leave Syria. Iranian responses to Trump’s announcement have mostly come from Friday prayer leaders. Supreme Leader Representative to Ardabil Province and Ardabil Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Hassan Ameli *boasted that a U.S. decision to withdraw from Syria “hands that country to Iran with [open arms]” on December 21.
President Hassan Rouhani traveled to Ankara, Turkey to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on December 19 for *discussions on regional security, countering Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and PKK-affiliated Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK) militants along the Iran-Turkey border, and promoting economic cooperation between Iran and Turkey.
Rouhani’s visit to Anakara was *pre-planned and did not include any public remarks on the U.S. announcement to withdraw from Syria. Erdogan *threatened on December 12 to begin a military operation against Kurdish militants in northeastern Syria.
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