Tuesday, 25 June, 2019

US official says troop withdrawal from Syria has started

30 2018 shows a line of US military vehicles in Syria 30 2018 shows a line of US military vehicles in Syria
Deanna Wagner | 11 January, 2019, 15:37

The US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State (IS) group has begun the process of withdrawing from Syria, its spokesman said on Friday, affirming the start of a pullout that has been clouded by mixed messages from US officials.

The official, who asked not to be named, told Anadolu Agency the removal of "some of the equipment" had begun.

"On Thursday, some American forces withdrew from the Rmeilan military base in Hassakeh province", said Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Britain-based war monitor, which relies on reports from activists on the ground.

The amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge, which had been moored in Crete, is leading a group of vessels towards the eastern Mediterranean to support the 2,000 United States troops as they leave the Kurdish-majority part of northeastern Syria, Pentagon officials told The Wall Street Journal.

Confirmation of the first withdrawals comes amid confusion over plans to implement President Donald Trump's pullout order and threats from Turkey to attack the Kurds, who have been America's partners on the ground in the war against ISIS in Syria. Analysts argued it would be wrong for Trump to abandon US allies the Kurds, who have been instrumental in fighting ISIS, because Turkey would likely launch an attack against them. Russia, the Syrian government's most vital ally, would be happy to see the US pull out entirely of the war-torn country, where it has military bases and a significant troop presence.

President Donald Trump and senior defense officials met to discuss the planned Syria troop withdrawal Wednesday, as his national security team continued to send conflicting signals about the planned pullback that has roiled relations with NATO-ally Turkey.

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

The Division 2 confirmed for Epic Games Store
Certain future games, including Far Cry: New Dawn , are also still planned for Steam release, Ubisoft told Variety . The publisher is bringing "Tom Clancy's The Division 2" to the Epic Games Store , it announced on Wednesday.

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

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov talks to Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia Valery Gerasimov (from left to right) ahead of the meeting on Syria in Moscow, on December 29, 2018.

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton suggested on Tuesday that protecting Washington's Kurdish allies would be a pre-condition of the U.S. withdrawal.

Washington's Kurdish allies in northern Syria fear the withdrawal will open the way for Turkey to mount a long-threatened offensive against their area.

Turkey views the USA -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.

US troops have been involved in Syria's war since 2014 when the first elite force arrived in the country to advise Kurdish-led fighters who were involved in battles against the Islamic State group.