U.S troops start pulling out from Syria

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

Speaking in Cairo on Thursday, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo tried to dispel confusion, saying the US would continue to fight Islamic State as it withdraws and that "the United States will use diplomacy and work with our partners to expel every last Iranian boot, and work through the UN-led process to bring peace and stability to the long-suffering Syrian people".

In a statement emailed to The Associated Press on Friday, he declined to discuss specific timelines or locations or troops movements out of concern for operational security.

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. It says about 10 armored vehicles and other equipment arrived at a USA base in al-Rmelan, in al-Hasaka province.

There has been confusion over plans to implement Trump's pullout order amid threats from Turkey to attack the Kurdish fighters, who are seen by Ankara as terrorists due to their ties to insurgents within Turkey.

American officials wanted to condition a USA troop withdrawal on a guarantee of safety for its Kurdish allies and a Turkish commitment to non-aggression, an idea President Erdogan hated so much, he refused to meet with NSA John Bolton who had flown all the way to Ankara to meet with him.

The statement coming a day after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Cairo defended the withdrawal, insisting it was not a retreat.

The withdrawal began with shipments of military equipment, USA defense officials said.

"These have been folks that have fought with us and it's important that we do everything we can to ensure that those folks that fought with us are protected", Pompeo said during his tour of the Middle East this week, according to the AP.

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Zakharova also said Russian Federation remains committed to an agreement it had struck with Turkey to stabilize a de-escalation zone in Syria's Idlib province, but Moscow is anxious by an increase in the number of ceasefire violations there.

Foreign allies, including the Kurdish-led force that has spearheaded Washington's fight against the Islamic State, say they had not received warning about the withdrawal announcement, and administration officials initially offered differing timetables for its completion.

The order to withdraw American troops from Syria had been signed, after President Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart agreed to prevent a power vacuum in the wake of the controversial move. Much of the force is made up of Kurdish fighters, who are also part of the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units or YPG, which has been linked to the PKK, a Kurdish terror group that has waged a decades-long insurgency in southeastern Turkey.

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

The U.S. military has a limited network of bases inside Syria. The U.S. has about 2,000 troops in the country.

This comes just three-weeks after President Trump announced he is bringing troops home.

The U.S. has about 5,200 troops in Iraq to assist its security forces, and Trump has given no indication he intends to withdraw them any time soon.

Zakharova said Moscow has not seen public statements laying out the US strategy in Syria and so can not be sure that the U.S.is serious about leaving.

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