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giftedviz.com January 18, 2019


Led coalition has started Syria withdrawal

14 January 2019, 03:29 | Darnell Patrick

2018 shows a line of US military vehicles in Syria's northern city of Manbij

2018 shows a line of US military vehicles in Syria's northern city of Manbij

Maria Zakharova, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said it was important for Syrian Kurds and the Syrian government to start talking to each other in light of the United States withdrawal plans.

The first U.S. military ground equipment has been withdrawn from Syria in recent days, signaling the beginning of the drawdown ordered by President Donald Trump, according to an administration official with direct knowledge of the operation. "Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troop movements", Colonel Sean Ryan said.

A convoy of ten U.S. 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.

He added Turkey will not seek permission from anyone on its fight against terrorist organizations. It says about 10 armored vehicles and other equipment arrived at a USA base in al-Rmelan, in al-Hasaka province. He said the administration made a decision to go ahead with the withdrawal despite the military's concerns.

The reports could not be independently confirmed.

A Defense Department spokesperson later said that while equipment was being moved out of Syria, troops were not withdrawing.

Trump's decision to withdraw troops has been clouded by mixed messages from Washington since it was abruptly announced last month, catching off guard allies including the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces militia.

USA troops have been involved in the Syrian conflict since 2014.

"President Macron spoke to him (Trump) several times and it seems that there has been a change that I think is positive", he said in a television interview on Thursday.

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On Friday a spokesman said the coalition "has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria". "That framework is conditions-based and will not subject troop withdrawal to an arbitrary timeline".

USA forces in northern Syria have fought alongside a Kurdish militia against Islamic State (IS) militants.

Ankara sees the YPG as a terrorist group linked to the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) which has fought a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state.

Turkey's Defense Minister Hulusi Akar visited Turkish troops along the Syrian border Friday, and vowed to eliminate the Kurdish forces in Syria.

Turkish forces have been deploying for weeks along the Syrian border. "Our preparations are continuing intensively".

A spokesperson for the US -led coalition against the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) said the withdrawal had gone ahead despite mixed messages from the White House over the fate of the 2,000 troops operating in the country. "We don't take orders from Bolton". "We're hoping those discussions, which will continue next week, will produce results that are acceptable on both sides".

Last week, President Erdogan angrily rejected calls by US National Security Adviser John Bolton for the Kurdish fighters to be protected.

His announcement, which came after a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was criticised even within his own camp and is already having major repercussions on the almost eight-year-old conflict.



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