Syria: US starts pulling equipment but not soldiers

14 January, 2019, 04:59 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Donald Trump announced last month that 2,000 US troops would be withdrawn

The United States military on Friday began moving non-essential gear out of Syria, but will not withdraw troops immediately, AFP reported, citing American defense officials.

After initially tweeting about the decision to bring back USA troops "now", Trump this week said "we will be leaving at a proper pace while at the same time continuing to fight ISIS and doing all else that is prudent and necessary!"

The withdrawal appeared to have begun Thursday night, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict in Syria through activists on the ground.

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

USA forces have started their withdrawal from Syria, initiating the start of a troop reduction that earlier this week was cast into doubt by Predient Donald Trump's national security adviser John Bolton. 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. In this photo from December 30, 2018, a line of USA military vehicles are seen at a checkpoint in northern Syria.

Global players in the conflict have been in talks about the future of former US territory in Syria.

While the US military pullout is now officially underway it has made a slow start.

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

Hours earlier, Col. Sean Ryan, spokesman for the USA -led coalition fighting the Islamic State group, said "the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria" has started.


A former military official said United States military planners first received their notice about the Syria withdrawal from media reports and the president's comments in December rather than an official military order to leave, forcing them to immediately begin planning.

"We have no problems with our Kurdish brothers, Arab brothers in Syria, Turkmens and other ethnic and religious groups".

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

"We will very soon mobilize to eliminate the terrorist organization in Syria", Erdogan said.

She charged that the US appeared to be "looking for a reason to stay" in Syria. US support for a Syrian-led Kurdish militia known as the People's Protection Units that Turkey considers a foe is the source of one rift.

On Friday, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said those talks will continue into next week.

"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.

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

Since Trump's announcement, senior members of his administration including Bolton and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo have frustrated Turkey by setting more specific conditions on what Trump initially suggested would be a quick withdrawal.

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