Withdrawal Process Of The US Army From Syria Begins, US Military Officer Confirms It

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New Delhi: A US military official said that the withdrawal process has begun after days of conflicting statements about a time line for US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out American troops from Syria. However he declined to comment on specific timetables or movements.

Col. Sean Ryan, spokesman for the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group, said “the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria” has started.

“Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troops movements,” the Baghdad-based official said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press.

There were no other details, and it was not immediately clear how many vehicles or whether any troop units had withdrawn.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict in Syria through a network of activists on the ground, said the withdrawal began Thursday night. It said a convoy of about 10 armored vehicles, in addition to some trucks, pulled out from Syria’s northeastern town of Rmeilan into Iraq.

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.

A senior Kurdish politician said the Kurds are aware of the US beginning its withdraw process, describing it as “America’s decision.”

“The Americans have a right to make decisions that are in their country’s security and national interests,” said Ilham Ahmed, who co-chairs the US-backed Syrian Democratic Council in northeast Syria. But the peace and stability of areas US forces withdraw from “must be guaranteed,” she added. This, she said, includes putting an end to the Turkish threats and fully eradicating the Islamic State group and its sleeper cells.

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