Trump begins to move United States troops out of Syria

US soldiers gather for a brief during a combined joint patrol rehearsal in Manbij Syria

Russia's foreign ministry said Friday that it suspected the USA government was really intent on maintaining a military force inside Syria indefinitely, in spite of the pullout officially being announced by the Americans.

"I think that the supporters of preserving the U.S.'s illegal military presence in Syria have rather strong positions in Washington...."

The fact that Bolton laid the demand for protection of Kurdish fighters as a condition for USA withdrawal from Syria sparked Erdogan's anger. "I wish I were wrong", Rybakov continued in response to a question from Russian state media.

While the US military pullout is now officially underway it has made a slow start. But determining what the US plan for withdrawing from Syria is has become a complicated task for many. Syria's deputy foreign minister said on Wednesday he was optimistic about renewed dialogue with the Kurds.

The announcement that U.S. troops would leave the civil war-racked country - where they have been deployed to assist in the multinational fight against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group - shocked global partners and American politicians alike.

In December, President Donald Trump announced plans to withdraw all 2,000 US troops from Syria, claiming that American forces had defeated Daesh there.

But experts were quick to point out that the Islamic State had not been defeated.

For now, two USA defense officials said that observation posts in northern Syrian that were established by former Secretary of Defense James Mattis' order are still in place and manned by U.S. troops.

Confirmation of the first withdrawals comes amid confusion over plans to implement Trump's pullout order and threats from Turkey to attack the Kurds, who have been America's partners on the ground in the war against the Islamic State group in Syria.

"This is the first such pullout of American forces since the USA president's announcement" of a full troop withdrawal from Syria last month, he said. Reports suggested that Turkey was preparing a military attack against the Kurds in Syria, who Erdogan views as an extension of a Kurdish group in Turkey that the government has been battling for decades.

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

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

Though the removal of troops is not on the cards immediately, withdrawing equipment is a means of showing progress towards this goal, it added.

The statement appeared to contradict John Bolton, President Trump's national security advisor, who said on Monday that...

The YPG is the backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is the main U.S. partner on the ground in the battle against ISIS and has controlled a large swath of northern Syria for the past several years.



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