Led coalition begins withdrawal from Syria

‘We Don’t Take Orders From Bolton’: Pentagon Plans Syria Withdrawal

The U.S. -led coalition said on Friday it had started the pullout process, but officials later clarified that only equipment, not troops, were being withdrawn.

Senior US officials were shocked too, among them Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who quit in protest.

President Donald Trump announced last month the decision to withdraw 2,000 United States troops who have deployed to Syria in support of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia, which have spearheaded the fight against the IS group. "Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troops movements".

Cavusoglu said Washington made a decision to withdraw its troops from Syria after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's firm stance against removing threat coming to Turkey from east of the Euphrates River in Syria.

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.

Robertson, in his statement, said the coalition had carried out "logistical measures" to support a withdrawal but did not enter into details. He suggested that the protection of Kurdish allies in the country would be a redline for the withdrawal.

A Kurdish politician told Reuters earlier this month that the leadership of northern Syria had presented Russian Federation with a road map for a deal and would pursue one regardless of US plans.

The US decision has injected new uncertainty into the eight-year-long Syrian war and spurred a flurry of contacts over how a resulting security vacuum will be filled across a swathe of northern and eastern Syria where the US forces are stationed.

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A Kurdish-led group, the Syrian Democratic Forces, is now flushing the jihadists from the very last pockets of land they control in the Euphrates River Valley.

Comments by Bolton on the matter drew a quick rejection this past week from Erdogan, who said they were a "serious mistake" and that Turkey "cannot make any concessions in this regard".

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called his Turkish counterpart Saturday to discuss Syria, a conversation that comes at a time of increased tensions between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies over the planned US withdrawal from that country.

In Cairo on Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that although Trump has chose to bring troops home, he will keep up the fight against the IS group more broadly.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said he is confident that the Trump administration and Turkey can agree a way to protect the Kurdish fighters in Syria after US troops leave the country. Moscow in particular has seized the initiative across the Middle East to the detriment of the U.S.'s interests, and has urged talks between the Kurdish forces and Damascus.

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.

He added Pompeo also stressed the importance that the US places on the protection of forces, namely PYD/YPG, the Syrian offshoot of PKK terror organization. He added that Ankara's mission in northern Syria is to purge terrorist groups from the entire area, not only Manbij. But in coming weeks, the contingent of about 2,000 troops is expected to depart even as the White House vows to keep pressure on the Islamic State group.

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