Syria troop withdrawal under way, says US-led coalition

US senator 'sensitive' to Turkish concerns over YPG  PKK

"CJTF-OIR has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria", said Col. Sean Ryan, a spokesman for the anti-ISIS coalition, citing the Department of Defense.

This comes just three-weeks after President Trump announced he is bringing troops home.

The U.S. -led military coalition in Syria has begun the process of withdrawing from Syria amid conflicting reports over the status of troops.

The reference was to Bolton's remarks this week the United States would not exit Syria until Turkey promised not to target U.S. Kurdish partners.

About 10 armored vehicles in addition to some engineering machines pulled out of Rmeilan, Syria, Thursday night headed for Iraq, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the Syrian conflict. Those military vehicles were seen traveling into Iraq; it's not clear how the reported movements compare to standard rotations of equipment and personnel.

This article was updated to include comment from a Defense Department source.

"Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troops movements", he said. Turkey views the Kurdish YPG militia, which forms the core of the SDF force, as a national security threat.

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"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 USA -backed Syrian Democratic Council in northeast Syria.

Ankara says it is preparing an assault in Northern Syria. He spoke before the announcement on the USA withdrawal and did not address it.

Both NBC and CBS point out that this appears to contradict messaging from both Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. They described the draw-down at the base, held by US forces for the past two years, as "slow and steady".

While the US military pullout is now officially underway it has made a slow start.

This lack of coherent planning continues close to a moth after the president's December 19 announcement of the withdrawal.

Government forces will liberate the entirety of Syria even if Trump reneges on his announced pull-out, a source in the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) told Sputnik correspondent Suliman Mulhem on Friday. Russia, the Syrian government's most vital ally, would be happy to see the US pull out entirely of the war-torn country, where it has military bases and a significant troop presence.

Bolton said last weekend in Jerusalem that the drawdown is conditional and doesn't have a hard deadline. "The timetable flows from the policy decisions that we need to implement", he said, seemingly referring to the battle against ISIS and the future of the Kurdish fighters in Syria.

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