Published: Fri, January 11, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

US military removes some equipment from Syria

US military removes some equipment from Syria

The US-led military coalition in Syria has begun pulling out troops, a spokesman said on Friday without elaborating on locations or timetables.

Ryan said that the coalition fighting the Islamic State group, the US started "the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria".

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict in Syria through a network of activists on the ground, said the withdrawal began Thursday night.

Other analysts argued that it would be wrong for Trump to abandon US allies the Kurds, who have been instrumental in fighting ISIS, because Turkey would likely launch an attack against them.

"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.

US national security adviser John Bolton said Sunday American troops will not leave northeastern Syria until ISIS is defeated and USA -backed Kurds were protected.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday there is "no contradiction whatsoever" in the administration's Syria strategy, the Journal reported, declaring the withdrawal will take place.

Last month, Donald Trump said he had ordered the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Syria, where there are believed to be about American 2,000 troops.

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"These are folks that have fought with us and that it's important that we do everything we can to make sure that those folks that fought with us are protected and Erdogan has made commitments, he understands that - I think he uses the language that he has no beef with the Kurds - we want to make sure that that's the case", Pompeo told the traveling press before departing Erbil in northern Iraq.

"We can see the way statements on the decision to withdraw forces are interpreted in various authoritative structures in the USA and which signals on this issue are coming from representatives of the administration itself", Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told journalists on Wednesday, signaling that officials in Moscow are still attempting to interpret the variety of statements coming out of Washington.

Addressing concerns that the United States withdrawal would allow Iranian and Iran-backed forces to remain in Syria and fulfill Tehran's ambition of establishing a strategically important land bridge to the Mediterranean, Mr Pompeo said the United States "will use diplomacy and work with our partners to expel every last Iranian boot" from the country.

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

Syrian Kurds demonstrate against threats from Turkey to carry out a fresh offensive following the USA decision to withdraw their troops in the Syrian Kurdish-majority city Qamishli, on December 28, 2018.

The White House has not yet publicly altered it's most recent criteria, those announced by Bolton a week ago: that ISIS must be defeated and the Kurdish forces' security guaranteed before the American troops all come out.

However, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the Turkish offensive would go ahead whether U.S. troops were in the area or not.

The US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said the move had "dangerous implications" for stability, would "negatively affect the campaign against terrorism" and create "a political and military vacuum". If not, the Trump administration would be accused of abandoning an ally to a grim fate.

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