US Begins Withdrawing Equipment From Syria

US Begins Withdrawing Equipment From Syria

If there changes to that, such as leaving troops in eastern and southern Syria, Trump would have to approve those specific details, the official said.

There are 2,000 USA troops in Syria and while the military has orders to follow the president's decision to withdraw, they have no timelines attached for how long it will take.

Israeli officials have expressed worries that the pullout could give Iran greater leeway to entrench itself militarily in Syria.

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

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.

In Ankara on Tuesday, Erdogan refused to meet with U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton, who earlier had appeared to set conditions on the U.S.withdrawal, including the lasting defeat of the Islamic State and guarantees that Turkey would not attack the YPG. Turkey views the Kurdish YPG militia, which forms the core of the SDF force, as a national security threat. Trump has asserted that the IS group in Syria is defeated, but others have said a continued USA military presence is necessary to prevent a resurgence of the group. Stalling the process were fears about Turkey invading territory held by Kurdish allies to the US, and leaving a power vacuum in the war-torn country.

Turkey welcomed Trump's surprise order to the Pentagon, while other U.S. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies said they received no notice. Ironically, troops that are designated to help with the eventual withdrawal already are in the area, adding more more troops in the vicinity now than before President Donald Trump announced the Syria withdrawal in December.

Grayling accused of 'gutter politics' over Brexit warning
Earlier on Friday UK foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said Brexit might not happen at all if May's deal was defeated. A source said, "Tearing up the standing orders is what I would expect to happen".

But, he added, "we also know that those are fighting alongside of us for all this time deserve to be protected as well".

The U.S. announcement that Mr. Trump's ordered withdrawal is underway might be enough to convince Turkey to hold fire against America's Kurdish battleground allies, for a while, but Erdogan still wants to go after them, and he could make good on his threats - even on a small scale - at any time.

It also marked the culmination of years of criticism by Trump over Washington's role in foreign wars. For years Trump has criticized USA deployment in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bolton said last weekend in Jerusalem that the drawdown is conditional and doesn't have a hard deadline.

Sean Robertson, said in a statement, "We will confirm that there has been no redeployment of military personnel from Syria to date". "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.

Erdogan rebuffed a proposed meeting with Bolton in Ankara on January 8, then took to live television instead to insult him for a lack of perspective.

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