Published: Sat, January 12, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Led coalition says it has started pulling out of Syria

Led coalition says it has started pulling out of Syria

The U.S. military is going ahead with plans for a withdraw of all American troops from Syria despite a shifting timetable, and a U.S. -Turkey rift that might delay the pullout, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

The U.S. -backed Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units form the backbone of the opposition Syrian Democratic Forces and have been fighting alongside U.S. troops against Islamic State militants in northeastern Turkey.

In the past 24 hours, US forces have withdrawn 10 vehicles and 150 personnel from the Rmelan military base, one of the first installations the USA -led coalition established in Syria in 2014, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. A convoy of about 10 armored vehicles and some trucks pulled out of Rmeilan, Syria, heading for and into Iraq.

U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement in late December that he planned to withdraw some 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria stunned U.S. allies and led to the resignation of U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

On Sunday, National Security Adviser John Bolton set out stringent conditions for the proposed withdrawal, saying the defense of allies must first be assured.

"We have to wait to see what Mr. Erdogan has to say with Mr. Trump", said Selcen, "because he (Erdogan) himself managed to persuade Mr. Trump that the United States will be leaving Syria". Trump administration officials also have argued that the US needs to stay in Syria to counter Iran's presence there.

'CJTF-OIR has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria, ' spokesman Colonel Sean Ryan said in a statement, referring to the US-led anti-jihadist force. Russian Federation is mediating talks between the Syrian government and the Kurds to ensure a smooth transition when US troops leave the region.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian of France, which is part of the USA -led coalition, welcomed what he believed was a slower withdrawal by the U.S after pressure from its allies.

A convoy of U.S. military vehicles rides in Syria's northern city of Manbij.

"These have been folks that have fought with us and it's important that we do everything we can to ensure that those folks that fought with us are protected", Pompeo said of the Kurds while visiting Irbil, the capital of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, after talks in Baghdad.

"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.

Questions have swirled around the withdrawal order since Trump made the unexpected announcement last month. On Dec. 23, he said there would be a "slow & highly coordinated pullout of USA troops from the area".

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