Pentagon Begins Trump's Syria Withdrawal With Timeline Uncertain

12 January, 2019, 00:13 | Author: Lucy Floyd
  • Turkey Stands By Deal To Buy Russian Missiles, Attack Kurds In Syria

The surprise move comes amid conflicting statements over when a withdrawal would begin and at what pace since President Donald Trump abruptly announced the USA would leave last month.

Russia's foreign ministry said Friday that it suspected the US government was really intent on maintaining a military force inside Syria indefinitely, in spite of the pullout officially being announced by the Americans.

Representatives of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a military coalition dominated by Kurdish fighters, declined to comment Friday, suggesting instead that the USA military should explain its plans.

The U.S. -led coalition in Syria is beginning to remove troops from Syria. He said the USA will not discuss a specific timeline, locations or troop movements out of concern for operational security.

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The confusion was precipitated by President Trump's shock announcement over the issue last month.

This is a developing story.

USA troops have been involved in the Syrian conflict since 2014.

In the past 24 hours, US forces have withdrawn 10 vehicles and 150 personnel from the Rmelan military base, one of the first installations the USA -led coalition established in Syria in 2014, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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On Sunday, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said American troops will not leave northeastern Syria until ISIS is defeated and American-allied Kurdish fighters are protected.

President Trump blindsided worldwide and regional allies, such as the YPG, on December 19 when he announced he would bring USA troops home. Trump's abrupt decision in December to pull them, declaring in a tweet the defeat of ISIS, sent shockwaves across the region and led to the resignation of U.S. Defence Minister James Mattis and the top U.S. envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition. He spoke before the announcement on the USA withdrawal and did not address it. Ankara views U.S. Kurdish allies the YPG in Syria as one and the same with the PKK, a group that has waged a 34-year insurgency against Turkey.

Turkey dismissed that condition, and Pompeo said the withdrawal would continue.

The timeline for withdrawal has been the subject of shifting statements from the White House, which has been accused of sending mixed messages about its mission in Syria and its broader priorities in the Middle East. Trump administration officials also have argued that the US needs to stay in Syria to counter Iran's presence there. But the peace and stability of areas US forces withdraw from "must be guaranteed", she added.

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday that the thousands of Turkish troops amassed along the Syrian border would attack whether the U.S. is out or not.

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