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US-led Coalition: Syria Troop Pullout has Started

US-led Coalition: Syria Troop Pullout has Started

Friday, 11 January, 2019 - 10:15
FILE PHOTO: Syrian Democratic Forces and US troops are seen during a patrol near Turkish border in Hasakah, Syria Nov. 4, 2018. REUTERS/Rodi Said/File
Asharq Al-Awsat
The US-led military coalition has begun the process of withdrawing troops from Syria, a spokesman said on Friday without elaborating on locations or timetables.

"CJTF-OIR has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria," Col. Sean Ryan said, referring to the US-led anti-militant force.

In a statement emailed to several international news agencies, he declined to discuss specific timelines or locations or troops movements out of concern for operational security.

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.

According to the Observatory, a convoy of about 10 armored vehicles, in addition to some trucks, pulled out from Syria's northeastern town of Rmeilan into Iraq.

The US has around 2,000 troops in Syria.

Russia's foreign ministry said it had the impression that the United States wanted to stay in Syria despite the announced withdrawal.

On Sunday, US national security adviser John Bolton said American troops will not leave northeastern Syria until ISIS is defeated and American-allied Kurdish fighters are protected, signaling a slow-down in Trump's initial order for a rapid withdrawal. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is on a tour of the region, has also sought to reassure the Kurds that they will be safe after US troops withdraw from the country.

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