Led coalition says Syria withdrawal has begun

Led coalition says Syria withdrawal has begun

Led coalition says Syria withdrawal has begun

The official told CBS News senior national security correspondent David Martin that equipment had begun moving out earlier this week.

"The execute order for Syria has been signed", a USA military spokesperson told AFP when asked about the withdrawal order, without providing further details.

"Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troops movements", Ryan said in a statement to the Associated Press.

A convoy of ten USA military vehicles was seen leaving a base in Hasakah province in northeast Syria and heading towards the Iraqi border, 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.

President Donald Trump's announcement last month that he had made a decision to withdraw 2,000 USA troops stunned allies that have joined Washington in the battle against Islamic State in Syria. Mr. Trump's abrupt decision in December to pull them, declaring in a tweet the defeat of ISIS, sent shockwaves across the region and led to the resignation of U.S. Defense Minister James Mattis and the top U.S. envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition.

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U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton suggested on Tuesday that protecting the Kurds would be a pre-condition of the United States withdrawal, drawing a rebuke from Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan who called his comments "a serious mistake".

Shortly after Trump's announcement, some US officials began to walk it back. He stressed that the fight against ISIS would continue, but he did no repeat the need for the Kurds to be protected, or mention Bolton's previous vow to curb Iran's presence in Syria.

President Trump shocked nearly everyone - from Congress and the Pentagon, to America's allies and enemies around the world - when he announced the pullout, arguing that the USA was "getting nothing" from its involvement in the country. Russia, the Syrian government's most vital ally, would be happy to see the USA pull out entirely of the war-torn country, where it has military bases and a significant troop presence.

The comments were an example of the perspective that many Russian officials hold, which posits that the U.S.is an imperialist power working to maintain global hegemony.

The US president concluded: "Our troops are coming home!"

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Turkey views the US -backed YPG Syrian Kurdish militia as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged a 34-year insurgency in Turkey for Kurdish political and cultural rights, mostly in southeastern areas near Syria.

Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the Americans are not serious about withdrawing from Syria.

The decision has injected new uncertainties into the eight-year long Syrian war and a flurry of contacts over how a resulting security vacuum will be filled across a swathe of northern and eastern Syria where the US forces are stationed.

The US military has removed some equipment from Syria, a defense official confirmed Thursday, following a report that the drawdown ordered by President Donald Trump is now underway.

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