Troop withdrawal from Syria has started, US official confirms

U.S. soldiers near the front line in northern Syria

Modal Trigger U.S. soldiers near the front line in northern Syria AP

However, I can't imagine the USA physically, fully and undisputedly withdrawing from Syria military all of a sudden in the current situation of Washington's unrestrained chase for global domination and the strive to be present everywhere and solve issues only on its terms.

Russia, which has deployed forces into Syria in support of the Damascus government, said on Friday it had the impression that the United States wanted to stay despite the announced withdrawal of US troops, RIA news agency reported. "Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troop movements", Colonel Sean Ryan said.

"On Thursday, some American forces withdrew from the Rmeilan military base in Hasakeh province", Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Britain-based monitoring organisation, said.

There are 2,000 American troops in Syria.

Mr Trump abruptly announced the USA withdrawal from Syria on December 19, blindsiding United States allies and triggering a confrontation within the U.S. administration that led to the resignation of his defence secretary.

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton suggested on Tuesday that protecting the Kurds would be a pre-condition of the USA withdrawal, drawing a rebuke from Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan who called his comments "a serious mistake". Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is on a tour of the region, has also sought to reassure the Kurds that they will be safe after US troops withdraw from the country.

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In the weeks following his announcement, Mr Trump has given differing signals over the future of USA involvement in the country. 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.

The CNN report added that officials it had previously spoken to said the Pentagon wants to signal to the president it is working towards his goals following his withdrawal decision last month.

But the Baghdad-based official did not give details and it is unclear how many vehicles or troop units had been withdrawn.

The US president concluded: "Our troops are coming home!" The first of those criteria is unmet, but feasible, as the terror group now holds only a small patch of land in Syria.

The US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said the move had "dangerous implications" for stability, would "negatively affect the campaign against terrorism" and create "a political and military vacuum". On Thursday, Turkey's foreign minister said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had already made the decision to launch an offensive against the Kurds in northern Syria, and that it would go ahead regardless of the presence of American forces.

Syrian Kurds demonstrate against threats from Turkey to carry out a fresh offensive following the USA decision to withdraw their troops in the Syrian Kurdish-majority city Qamishli, on December 28, 2018.

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