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11 January 2019, 04:57 | Darnell Patrick
Amid confusion Trump admin signals Syria pullout won't be rapid
Col. Sean Ryan, spokesman to USA -led military coalition in Syria, has confirmed that that they had begun the process of withdrawing troops from Syria.
On December 19, President Trump announced that the US would pull the estimated 2,000 troops it has stationed in Syria because the Islamic State had been defeated in the country.
"Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troops movements", he said in a statement.
The news that a withdrawal had begun was confirmed on Thursday by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, based in the United Kingdom, which monitors activity in the war-town country through a network of activists. A convoy of about 10 armored vehicles and some trucks pulled out of Rmeilan, Syria, heading for and into Iraq.
Following the announcement, Defense Secretary James Mattis submitted his resignation letter.
National security adviser John Bolton traveled to Israel and Turkey, where he said he would seek assurances from Turkey that the Kurds would be protected and pledged that the US would ensure that ISIS is defeated.
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The coalition's announcement came a day after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed in an address to regional allies in Cairo that Washington was going ahead with the pullout of about 2,000 troops stationed in Syria.
"We will very soon mobilize to eliminate the terrorist organization in Syria", he said."If there are other terrorists who would attempt to intervene in our intervention then it is our duty to eliminate them as well", Erdogan added. But determining what the USA plan for withdrawing from Syria is has become a complicated task for many.
The fact that Bolton laid the demand for protection of Kurdish fighters as a condition for USA withdrawal from Syria sparked Erdogan's anger. 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. 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 US president concluded: "Our troops are coming home!"
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 latter will no doubt prove the more hard objective to meet. Once Trump announced his intention, Erdogan said Turkey would delay any operation until all US forces left. Turkey views the dominant Syrian Kurdish groups as a national security threat.
In their Wednesday meeting, Trump, Shanahan and Dunford were also set to begin formulating a more fine-tuned withdrawal plan, according to several defense and administration officials.
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