Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is to visit Israel on Friday as part of a regional tour aimed at ending the crisis over Turkey’s military campaign against the Kurds in Syria after President Donald Trump decided to pull U.S. troops from Syria last week.
Pompeo will “travel to Jerusalem on October 18 where he will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss developments in Syria and the continued need to counter the Iranian regime’s destabilizing behavior in the region,” said a U.S. State Department announcement.
“Later that day, the Secretary will travel to Brussels, Belgium, where he will meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to discuss Transatlantic security issues and U.S. goals for the upcoming NATO Foreign Ministerial and Leaders Meeting,” said the U.S. statement.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last Thursday that he “strongly condemns the Turkish invasion of the Kurdish areas in Syria and warns against the ethnic cleansing of the Kurds by Turkey and its proxies.”
However, the Israeli concerns are also centered around the potential for Iranian exploitation of the situation in Syria to reinforce the Islamic Republic’s presence near the Jewish State’s northern border.
Netanyahu has repeatedly vowed that “Israel will not allow Iran, which calls for our destruction, to entrench on our border.”