Military Going Ahead With Syria Withdrawal Plans


"We had this conversation, many details still to be worked out but I am optimistic we can achieve a good outcome", Pompeo said of his call with Cavusoglu from Abu Dhabi, where he was on the fourth leg of a nine-nation Mideast trip.

"Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troops movements", he said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press.

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.

As part of the influx, they described seeing "a column of about 150 vehicles carrying armored vehicles, military, and logistical equipment", the observatory said.

A Defense Department spokesperson later said that while equipment was being moved out of Syria, troops were not withdrawing.

The withdrawal began with shipments of military equipment, USA defence officials said.

"Russia, Iran and Syria have been the biggest beneficiaries of the long term USA policy of destroying ISIS in Syria - natural enemies".

USA forces have fought alongside a Kurdish militia in northern Syria against the Islamic State (IS) group.

U.S. national security adviser John Bolton suggested on Tuesday that protecting Washington's Kurdish allies would be a precondition of the United States withdrawal.

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But Erdogan made clear this week that he would not agree to those terms and lashed out at Trump's aide, saying "It is not possible for us to swallow the message Bolton gave".

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier this month said that ensuring the Turkish military does not massacre the Kurds would be a key priority for the United States following the Pentagon's withdrawal of its troops from Syria.

Senior officials like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton have declined to put a timeline on when troops would be withdrawn.

Last December, Trump announced plans to withdraw all US troops from Syria, claiming that American forces had defeated Daesh there.

He told reporters in Israel that it would be done in a way that guaranteed IS "is defeated and is not able to revive itself", and that the U.S. would "take care of those who have fought with us against [IS] and other terrorist groups". Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan then canceled a planned meeting with Bolton.

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

A Kurdish official told Reuters last week they had presented Russian Federation with a roadmap to a deal with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, in the hope of striking a political deal that will stave off Turkey and shield Kurdish autonomy in the north.

The People's Protection Units (YPG), which have spearheaded ground operations against IS, are a Syrian offshoot of the Kurdish PKK which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.