Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday the U.S. decision to pull troops out of Syria has prompted him to delay a counter-terrorism offensive that's been planned for weeks.
Erdogan said he made the decision after speaking with Trump by phone.
"The phone call we made with Trump, as well as the contacts of our diplomatic and security units, and the statements made by the American side led us to wait for a while," Erdogan said. "Of course this is not an open-ended waiting process."
Trump announced the full withdrawal from Syria on Thursday, a move that will remove about 2,000 service members. Trump said the Islamic State terror group has been defeated in Syria, though many Republicans and other U.S. allies disagree.
Ankara has been planning an offensive east of the Euphrates River for months, and Erdogan said this week it would soon "wipe out" YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists along Turkish borders.
Turkey views Kurdish forces, some of whom are allied with the United States, as a threat. Despite Friday's announcement the offensive will be delayed, Erdogan said it's still important.
"Regional security is vital for us," he said. "The steps that we have taken in the region together with Russia and Iran aim to ensure regional security."