Secretary of State Mike Pompeo underscored US-Israeli efforts to counter Iran in talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, in an apparent attempt to ease concerns in Israel that Tehran could exploit a US military pullback in Syria.
Pompeo and Netanyahu met in Jerusalem hours after Turkey agreed with the United States to pause its offensive on Kurdish forces in Syria.
Turkey launched its assault against the Kurdish YPG militia in Syria last week after President Donald Trump pulled a US contingent out of the way, creating a new front in Syria’s eight-year war and prompting 200,000 civilians to take flight.
Israel sees Syria’s Kurds, once US allies, as a counterweight to Islamist insurgents in northern Syria. It also worries that its arch-foe Iran or local allies could fill the vacuum left by a disengaged United States.
The Kurds responded to the US withdrawal by inviting Syrian government forces, backed by Moscow and Tehran, into towns and cities in areas they control.
Pompeo said he and Netanyahu discussed “all the efforts we’ve made to push back against the threat not only to Israel but to the region and the world from the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
“We shared our ideas about how we can ensure Middle East stability together, and how we would further our efforts to jointly combat all the challenges that the world confronts here in the Middle East,” Pompeo told reporters with Netanyahu by his side.
Asked for his reaction to the pause in Turkey’s offensive, Netanyahu said: “We hope things will turn out for the best.”
Later on Friday, Pompeo will fly to Brussels for a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Read more: Israel Hayom