Led coalition begins withdrawal from Syria

12 January, 2019, 00:11 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • US senator 'sensitive' to Turkish concerns over YPG  PKK

The U.S. military is going ahead with plans for a withdraw of all American troops from Syria despite a shifting timetable, and a U.S. -Turkey rift that might delay the pullout, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

The surprise move comes amid conflicting statements over when a withdrawal would begin and at what pace since President Donald Trump abruptly announced the USA would leave last month.

On December 19, Donald Trump said he had ordered the withdrawal of all USA forces in Syria, which are believed to number around 2,000.

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.

Col. Sean Ryan, spokesman for the coalition fighting ISIS, confirmed earlier in the day to The Associated Press that "the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria" was underway.

"We can not make any concessions in this regard", said Erdogan, who vowed that "those involved in a terror corridor" in Syria "will receive the necessary punishment".

This is a developing story.

China says USA trade talks 'laid foundation' to resolve concerns
Xi promised to fix the trade imbalance issue with the United States by starting to purchase U.S. agricultural products. Over the past two days, talks have been under way between the USA and China to find a way to end the conflict.

A convoy of ten United States military vehicles was seen leaving a base in Hasakah province in northeast Syria and heading towards the Iraqi border, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton this week suggested America's withdrawal was contingent on assurances from Turkey it would not attack.

Trump's shock announcement on December 19 that he was withdrawing all 2,000 American troops from the conflict-wracked Middle Eastern country has led to concern among allies, including Israel, and prompted the resignation of his then defense chief Jim Mattis. Ankara views U.S. Kurdish allies the YPG in Syria as one and the same with the PKK, a group that has waged a 34-year insurgency against Turkey.

Questions have swirled around the withdrawal order since Trump made the unexpected announcement last month. "Obviously when there is a political solution, we will withdraw", he said without elaborating.

The timeline for withdrawal has been the subject of shifting statements from the White House, which has been accused of sending mixed messages about its mission in Syria and its broader priorities in the Middle East.

While the US military pullout is now officially underway it has made a slow start. But the peace and stability of areas USA forces withdraw from "must be guaranteed", she added.

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.

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