US Begins Withdrawing Equipment From Syria

US pullout from Syria begins amid confusion over Pentagon timetable

US pullout from Syria begins amid confusion over Pentagon timetable

President Donald Trump last month claimed that ISIS had been defeated in Syria and said all U.S. troops were "coming back now".

So far, senior defense officials have declined to provide a timeline of when troops might start coming home.

US Colonel Sean Ryan, a coalition spokesman, said the coalition "has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria".

Earlier this week, however, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said the U.S. would expect guarantees that the Kurds would be protected after American troops leave the area.

This is a clarification after news reports early Friday that the US has begun a "deliberate withdrawal" from Syria...

At present, there are some 2,000 U.S. troops stationed in Syria, most of the Marines and U.S. Army soldiers, deployed in the northeast sector and the Middle Euphrates River Valley.

The withdrawal, Cmdr Robertson said, "is based on operational conditions on the ground, including conversation with our allies and partners, and is not be subject to an arbitrary timeline".

US Central Command, which is overseeing the withdrawal operation, has identified ships, aircraft and ground units that will be used in the operation.

That provoked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to snub Trump's national security adviser last week, after John Bolton had received a warm welcome by Israeli officials days before. The comments drew a rebuke from Erdogan, who slammed them as a "serious mistake". "It doesn't materially alter our capacity to continue to perform the military actions that we need to perform", Pompeo told reporters in Abu Dhabi.

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The official also would not say what part of Syria the equipment was in, although it's widely expected the drawdown will begin in northern Syria.

The U.S. and Turkey have been allies for more than six decades, but in recent years their relationship has been repeatedly strained by disputes. A US troop pullout leaves the Kurds exposed to Turkish attacks from one side, and Syrian government troops on the other.

She also said the territory previously controlled by the United States should be transferred to the Syrian regime.

Turkey views the YPG as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade insurgency in Turkey's largely Kurdish southeast.

A Kurdish politician told Reuters last week the Kurds had presented Moscow with a roadmap for a deal with Damascus.

Russian news agency Interfax quoted Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Kremlin's foreign ministry, as saying in Moscow on Friday that it seemed like the United States "is looking for a reason to stay", the Times pointed out.

"President Macron spoke to him (Trump) several times and it seems that there has been a change that I think is positive", he said in a television interview on Thursday.

Speaking in Egypt yesterday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressed the troop pullout from Syria would go ahead as he urged Middle East nations to forge a common stand against Tehran.

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