‘We Don’t Take Orders From Bolton’: Pentagon Plans Syria Withdrawal

‘We Don’t Take Orders From Bolton’: Pentagon Plans Syria Withdrawal

Colonel Sean Ryan, spokesman for the US-led coalition fighting Islamic State, said the process of removing troops for the country had started.

The U.S. military command in Baghdad, which is managing the counter-IS campaign in Iraq and Syria, said Friday that it "has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria", adding that, for security reasons, it would not reveal timetables, locations or troop movements.

The news that a withdrawal had begun was confirmed on Thursday by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, based in the United Kingdom, which monitors activity in the war-town country through a network of activists.

Some 150 soldiers and 10 armored vehicles, along with some trucks and heavy equipment, left the town and crossed the Iraqi border, he said.

President Trump blindsided worldwide and regional allies, such as the YPG, on December 19 when he announced he would bring USA troops home.

Trump's decision to remove troops from Syria sent shockwaves through the embattled region and led to the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis.

National Security Advisor John Bolton appeared to contradict the White House Sunday when he said the us withdrawal from Syria would not be immediate, but the Pentagon announced Thursday that without receiving any new direction, it's moving forward with the mission. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has also sought to reassure the Kurds they will be safe after the USA completely pulls out.

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The Trump administration is yet to decide how it plans to withdraw its troops from Syria, according to several senators said Thursday, following a closed-door metering of Senate Armed Services Committee and Pentagon officials, Stars and Stripes reported. Many are also anxious that the Kurdish forces, which spearheaded the fight against the "Islamic State" militants with U.S. backing, would be left vulnerable to an imminent attack by Turkey.

19 announcement that he was moving to disentangle US troops from Syria's complex battlefield sparked fears that the move might undo efforts to defeat the Islamic State's final remnant in Syria.

Talking to reporters in Abu Dhabi, Mr Pompeo said the USA recognised "the Turkish people's right and [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan's right to defend their country from terrorists".

Operation Olive Branch was conducted by Turkish Armed Forces-backed Syrian opposition group Free Syrian Army (FSA) starting on January 20, 2018 to remove the PKK's Syrian affiliate People's Protection Unit (YPG) elements from Afrin in northwestern Syria following the first operation conducted in northern Syria in 2016, the Operation Euphrates Shield that targeted Daesh terrorists in Syria's Al-Bab and Jarablus.

A political deal could piece back together the two biggest chunks of a country splintered by eight years of war, leaving one corner of the northwest in the hands of anti-Assad rebels backed by Turkey - an adversary of both the YPG and Damascus. -Turkish consultations as part of the "deliberate and coordinated" withdrawal of American forces from Syria.

A Kurdish-led group, the Syrian Democratic Forces, is now flushing the jihadists from the very last pockets of land they control in the Euphrates River Valley. But Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to crush the Kurdish groups that have been effective in defeating IS in Syria.

Turkey's foreign minister and his USA counterpart spoke over the phone, Turkish diplomatic sources announced on Saturday. If not, the Trump administration would be accused of abandoning an ally to a grim fate.

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