Published: Mon, January 14, 2019
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Led coalition says Syria troop withdrawal has begun

Led coalition says Syria troop withdrawal has begun

In this photo from December 30, 2018, a line of USA military vehicles are seen at a checkpoint in northern Syria.

Turkish officials on Thursday continued to threaten an invasion of Syrian Kurdistan where USA troops still serve along Kurdish-led forces in the fight against the Islamic State even if President Donald Trump's administration backpedals on the withdrawal decision.

"CJTF-OIR has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria", spokesman Colonel Sean Ryan told AFP in a statement, referring to the US-led anti-jihadist force.

There are about 2,000 USA troops in Syria.

Late Friday, Pentagon spokesman Cmdr Sean Robertson said that Operation Inherent Resolve "is implementing the orderly withdrawal of forces from northeast Syria within a framework coordinated across the United States government". Turkish military has previously entered Syria in an apparent effort to drive Kurdish forces away from Turkey's borders.

The Defense Department did not directly address that report.

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The U.S. has started withdrawing military equipment from Syria, an official from the Pentagon confirmed Thursday.

Turkey considers America's Kurdish allies of the YPG militia - who were vital in the ground war against ISIS - a terrorist group.

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

Ankara says it is preparing an assault in Northern Syria. The confusion was precipitated by President Trump's shock announcement over the issue last month.

A senior Kurdish politician said the Kurds are aware of the USA beginning its withdraw process, describing it as "America's decision". The U.S. doesn't want these prisoners to be released once U.S. forces are gone, since they could rejoin the militant cause in Syria or elsewhere.

Trump's decision to withdraw all of the 2,000 USA troops from the war-torn country prompted shockwaves among United States senior officials and U.S. allies in December. But the peace and stability of areas US forces withdraw from "must be guaranteed", she added.

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Wa Lone had testified during the trial that the phone number did not work and he did not have contact with the rebel group. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested in Yangon , Myanmar's main city, on 12 December 2017.


But, he added, "we also know that those are fighting alongside of us for all this time deserve to be protected as well".

Critics of Trump's decision, including within his own Republican party, have said a precipitous withdrawal would shatter USA policy in Syria and allow ISIS to rebuild.

But after the resignations of Mattis and McGurk and amid a wave of bipartisan criticism in Washington, Trump hinted at a longer timeframe.

Initial indications from the White House were that US forces would be withdrawn from Syria in 30 days.

Bolton said last weekend in Jerusalem that the drawdown is conditional and doesn't have a hard deadline.

"It is not possible for us to swallow the message Bolton gave from Israel", Erdogan said in the Turkish Parliament after refusing to meet with Bolton on his visit to Turkey.

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Erdogan rebuffed a proposed meeting with Bolton in Ankara on January 8, then took to live television instead to insult him for a lack of perspective.

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