Published: Sun, January 13, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

U.S. Syria withdrawal officially underway, expected to take 3-4 months

U.S. Syria withdrawal officially underway, expected to take 3-4 months

He made the announcement in an interview during a regional tour aimed at reassuring USA allies after President Donald Trump's shock decision to withdraw all American troops from Syria, which sparked concerns that Iran's influence could grow.

Saying that they evacuated a hospital in Jinderes upon the orders of USA soldiers and being transferred into a hospital in the city center, the woman said that "they wanted us to treat wounded terrorists there".

The official provided no numbers, but said the equipment withdrawal is underway and an unspecified number of additional USA troops have been brought into Syria to assist with the withdrawal process.

"Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troops movements", Col. Sean Ryan, spokesperson for the coalition fighting IS, said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press.

There are some 2,000 USA troops stationed across northeastern Syria.

Another complication is the fate of hundreds of foreign IS fighters being held in Syria.

Turkey insists its military actions are aimed at Kurdish fighters in Syria - the Syrian Kurdish Peoples Protection Units, or YPG - whom it regards as terrorists, and not against the Kurdish people.

He added that the only way to end the rivalries and conflict in the region is by containing and defeating Iran, and vowed "expel every last Iranian boot" from Syria. "Our only targets are terrorists, Daesh [Islamic State] and PKK/YPG", Akar said.

Turkey, however, considers the YPG a terrorist group linked to a rebellion in Turkey.

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Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said on Saturday that he hoped the conference would be an important tool for global dialogue between the European Union and USA to find common ground in their positions towards Iran. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall.

American officials wanted to condition a USA troop withdrawal on a guarantee of safety for its Kurdish allies and a Turkish commitment to non-aggression, an idea President Erdogan hated so much, he refused to meet with NSA John Bolton who had flown all the way to Ankara to meet with him.

The Syrian Observatory also reported that the SDF is bolstering its forces on the border with Turkey "in anticipation of any surprise attack".

The Kearsarge amphibious ready group (ARG), which includes the 22nd MEU, the amphibious assault ship Kearsarge, the amphibious transport dock Arlington and the dock landing ship Fort McHenry, entered the 6th Fleet's area of operations, including the Mediterranean, last month.

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

On December 19, Trump said he had ordered the withdrawal of all United States forces in Syria, which are believed to number around 2,000.

Trump initially indicated that the withdrawal would be quick but has since stated that it would be "slow and coordinated" with allies. "And the military is being left in a very hard situation to try to carry out, execute the president's orders when there's no real either timeline-based or milestone-based" plan.

The YPG is an important ally in the USA war against the Islamic State.

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