US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said he is confident that the Trump administration and Turkey can agree a way to protect the Kurdish fighters in Syria after US troops leave the country.

The Turkish government has said Kurdish fighters are linked to a group that has been mounting an insurgency against the Turkish state for decades.

Speaking in the United Arab Emirates, Mr Pompeo said he thought it would be possible to reach an agreement which would allow the Turks to defend themselves from terror threats while protecting Kurds – who have been fighting alongside US troops - against the so-called Islamic State group.

Relations between the two NATO allies have been strained over US backing for the Kurdish YPG, which Turkey views as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) waging a decades-long insurgency on Turkish soil.

Mr Pompeo said a phone call with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu involved several elements of US-Turkey relations,including Syria and the detention of Americans in Turkey.

He said the US envoy for Syria, Jim Jeffrey, had travelled to northeast Syria this week and would soon go to Ankara for talks, including on moving forward a UN-led political process to end the eight-year long conflict in Syria.

He suggested that talks between Damascus and the Syrian Kurds could be part of a broader political solution in Syria.

"We hope we can turn the corner here," Mr Pompeo added.

Kurdish-led groups who control swathes of northern Syria fear an attack from Turkey in the wake of US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw troops from their region.

Turkey sees the Kurdish YPG militia close to its border as a security threat.

Mr Trump's decision to withdraw the troops hinges on Turkey's cooperation to secure the northern border. But Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to crush the Kurdish groups that have been effective in defeating IS in Syria.

Mr Pompeo said the withdrawal of US troops from Syria was a "tactical change" but the mission to destroy Islamic State and counter Iran's influence remained the same.

In a speech in Cairo on Thursday, Mr Pompeo vowed that the United States would "expel every last Iranian boot" from Syria,where Tehran is supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"It's an ambitious objective, but it is ours, and it is our mission," he added.

The speech sought to lay out the Trump administration's strategy for the Middle East and criticised former president Barack Obama, without naming him, for "fundamental misunderstandings" about the Middle East.

Mr Pompeo said yesterday that the speech had not taken aim at individuals but rather the ideas of the previous administration,adding that the Obama-era policies opened the way for Islamic State and the spread of Iran's influence in the region.