Mike Pompeo to arrive in Israel on Friday for talks on Syria


(JTA) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will arrive in Israel on Friday for talks about the situation in northern Syria.

The State Department confirmed Pompeo’s travel plans on Wednesday in a statement. Earlier reports indicated that Pompeo would arrive in the Jewish state on Thursday.

Pompeo will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem “to discuss developments in Syria and the continued need to counter the Iranian regime’s destabilizing behavior in the region,” the statement said.

The meeting will follow Pompeo’s visit to Turkey with Vice President Mike Pence. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had earlier said he would not meet with the Americans, but the statement Wednesday indicated a meeting was planned for Thursday.

Pompeo will also meet with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday in Brussels.

The meetings come amid continuing alarm in Jerusalem over the recent U.S. withdrawal from northern Syria and the subsequent Turkish invasion of the area. Netanyahu condemned the invasion and offered assistance to the Kurds, U.S. allies in the fight against ISIS.

On Thursday, an unnamed Kurdish politician in a northern Syrian city told Israel’s Army Radio that the Turkish offensive had led to the release of ISIS fighters and asked Israel for assistance, The Times of Israel reported.

“We hope Israel will take action in the diplomatic arena to save the Kurdish people,” the politician said.

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