Led coalition says Syria troop withdrawal has begun

‘We Don’t Take Orders From Bolton’: Pentagon Plans Syria Withdrawal

‘We Don’t Take Orders From Bolton’: Pentagon Plans Syria Withdrawal

The announcement comes a day after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said a military operation in northern Syria against the Kurdish YPG militia, which is allied with the US, is not dependent on the withdrawal of American forces.

Removing equipment from Syria is thought to be a way the department of defense can show progress on that order without withdrawing troops.

It said a convoy of about 10 armored vehicles, in addition to some trucks, pulled out from Syria's northeastern town of Rmeilan into Iraq.

But following a backlash from Republicans and Democrats in Congress and the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Trump said the troops would be withdrawn "slowly".

Over recent weeks, senior USA officials have offered confusing and contradictory accounts of the terms and speed with which the U.S. is leaving.

"This is the first such pullout of American forces since the United States president's announcement" of a military withdrawal from Syria last month, he said.

Foreign allies, including the Kurdish-led force that has spearheaded Washington's fight against the Islamic State, say they had not received warning about the withdrawal announcement, and administration officials initially offered differing timetables for its completion. Russia, the Syrian government's most vital ally, would be happy to see the USA pull out entirely of the war-torn country, where it has military bases and a significant troop presence. On Dec. 23, he said there would be a "slow & highly coordinated pullout of USA troops from the area".

The announcement is fueling concern about how quickly the USA will abandon its Kurdish allies, amid contradictory statements recently by Trump administration officials on an exit timetable.

Earlier, US military spokesman Colonel Sean Ryan had said the US had begun "the process of our deliberate withdrawal" from Syria. It also led to major criticism that the US was abandoning its local Kurdish allies amid Turkish threats of an imminent attack.

"This is the first such pullout of American forces since the USA president's announcement" of a full troop withdrawal from Syria last month, he said.

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Israeli officials have expressed worries that the pullout could give Iran greater leeway to entrench itself militarily in Syria.

Pompeo said he had spoken to Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Adding to the confusion, a military spokesman said the United States had already begun "the process of our deliberate withdrawal" from Syria.

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.

The withdrawal plan, whose details are classified, includes bringing hundreds of additional troops into Syria temporarily to facilitate the pullout.

On Friday, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said those talks will continue into next week. Turkey considers the YPG to be part of the PKK, or Kurdistan Workers Party, a separatist group in eastern Turkey which has been labeled a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the European Union.

"When the time and place comes, the terrorists here will also be buried in the ditches and trenches they have dug", he said. On Thursday, Pompeo declared that the U.S.is a "force for good" in the Middle East.

This move signals the beginning of the drawdown ordered by President Trump.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is now on an eight-day tour to try to ease concerns about Trump's policies in the region.

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