Published: Fri, January 11, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Led coalition says Syria troop withdrawal has begun

Led coalition says Syria troop withdrawal has begun

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.

It said a convoy of ten armoured vehicles and some trucks had pulled out of Rmeilan, in Syria's north west, into Iraq.

President Donald Trump's announcement last month that he had chose to withdraw 2,000 us troops stunned allies that have joined Washington in the battle against Islamic State in Syria.

There are 2,000 American troops in Syria.

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. Analysts argued it would be wrong for Trump to abandon USA allies the Kurds, who have been instrumental in fighting ISIS, because Turkey would likely launch an attack against them.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Masoud Barzani leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in the province's capital Arbil during a Middle East tour, on January 9, 2019.

Shortly after Trump's announcement, some USA officials began to walk it back.

While Mr Trump's tweets announcing his decision declared that ISIS had been defeated and suggested the withdrawal would begin immediately, the president later clarified that it would be done gradually after facing resistance from his security officials and the Pentagon.

The comments were an example of the perspective that many Russian officials hold, which posits that the an imperialist power working to maintain global hegemony.

US Central Command has come up with an execution plan in order to safely withdraw troops there, officials tell CNN.

Turkey considers several Kurdish groups - including the People's Protection Units, also known as the YPG - to be terrorist organizations.

Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the Americans are not serious about withdrawing from Syria.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu went so far on Wednesday as to say that if the USA withdrawal from Syria was delayed, "then we will put this decision into practice", suggesting Turkey could go after the Kurds in short order.

President Donald Trump confirmed a Syria withdrawal Sunday, but shifted slightly on the timing, saying "we won't be finally pulled out until [the Islamic State] is gone".

The challenge for the United States will be to strike a deal with Turkey's government that ensures the YPG militia, that was so invaluable to Washington over the past handful of years, is protected when the withdrawal is complete.

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