US official says troop withdrawal from Syria has started

14 January, 2019, 05:47 | Author: Emmett Rice
  • US pullout from Syria begins amid confusion over Pentagon timetable

The US-led coalition in Syria has begun withdrawing its troops, a spokesman said Friday, less than a month after US President Donald Trump made his shock announcement. These include troops to provide additional security. The observatory reported that a convoy of USA armored vehicles was the first of the pullout, and was seen leaving the town of Rmeilan into neighboring Iraq.

"We are not withdrawing troops at this stage", an unidentified USA defense official said.

Ankara has been infuriated by the US support for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by the YPG under the pretext of fighting against Daesh.

On Friday, Bolton said that the militaries of the United States and Turkey are set to continue negotiating on the Kurdish issue. But in coming weeks, the contingent of about 2,000 troops is expected to depart even as the White House vows to keep pressure on the Islamic State group.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis had resigned immediately after Trump's claim in December that the Islamic State group had been defeated.

Bolton, on a visit to the region this week, said the US pullout was conditional on defeating IS and guarantees that the Kurds would be protected.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also addressed the issue in a speech in Cairo on Thursday.

More news: Who is Rahaf al-Qunun, why is her life in danger?

Kurdish officials, meanwhile, have demanded clarifications from the USA over its intentions. The withdrawal benefits Syrian President Bashar Assad and his global backers, Russian Federation and Iran, who are primed to move into the region to fill a vacuum left behind by the Americans. A US troop pullout leaves the Kurds exposed to Turkish attacks from one side, and Syrian government troops on the other.

The People's Protection Units (YPG), which have spearheaded ground operations against ISIS in Syria, are an offshoot of the Kurdish PKK, which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.

"When the time and place comes, the terrorists here will also be buried in the ditches and trenches they have dug", the minister said in southern Sanliurfa province.

Since his surprise announcement last month, Trump has stressed any withdrawal would be coordinated, gradual and "prudent".

Speaking to reporters in Moscow Friday, she said it appears to Moscow that the U.S.

Pompeo arrived in Abu Dhabi on Friday as part of his regional tour aimed at reassuring Washington's Middle Eastern allies of its continued commitment to the complete dismantlement of Daesh a href="https://sputniknews.com/us/201812191070826973-us-military-syria/" *withdraw some 2,000 USA troops now deployed in the Middle Eastern country.

"I can not share your confidence that they are leaving there because we never saw an official strategy", she added.

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