ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (pahm-PAY'-oh) says he's confident the United States and Turkey can agree on a way to protect Kurdish rebels in Syria after the American troop withdrawal.

Pompeo has spoken to Turkey's foreign minister and says a possible agreement is a work in progress. Pompeo says it can be achieved so as to allow the Turks to defend their country while leaving alone Kurds who don't pose a threat.

Pompeo says he's "optimistic" that Kurds who fought alongside U.S. forces against the Islamic State group in Syria won't be abandoned.

Turkey considers many of Syria's Kurdish groups to be terrorists and has pledged to attack them. The threats have intensified as the U.S. begins the withdrawal process from Syria on President Donald Trump's orders.

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