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The US-led military coalition in Syria has begun withdrawing troops, a spokesman has said, without elaborating on locations or timetables.

Russia, which has deployed forces into Syria in support of the Damascus government, said on Friday it had the impression that the United States wanted to stay despite the announced withdrawal of US troops, RIA news agency reported.

In the past 24 hours, US forces have withdrawn 10 vehicles and 150 personnel from the Rmelan military base, one of the first installations the USA -led coalition established in Syria in 2014, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

It said a convoy of about ten armored vehicles, in addition to some trucks, pulled out from Syria's northeastern town of Rmeilan into Iraq.

The U.S. has begun to withdraw equipment from Syria as questions about President Donald Trump's timeline and strategy for pulling troops from the eight-year conflict there continue to fuel confusion.

National security adviser John Bolton said Sunday that USA troops would not leave the region until ISIS is defeated and the Kurdish allied fighters are protected.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday there is "no contradiction whatsoever" in the administration's Syria strategy, the Journal reported, declaring the withdrawal will take place.

The Pentagon says USA military personnel in Syria are moving ahead with President Trump's order to pull out of the war-torn country.




A senior Kurdish politician said the Kurds are aware of the USA beginning its withdraw process, describing it as "America's decision". The U.S. has about 2,000 troops in the country.

While speaking to reporters Friday, a spokesperson for Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said establishing dialogue is vital to maintaining peace.The spokesperson also urged the U.S.to hand over its territory to Assad amid threats from Turkey of a possible attack on Kurds in the region.

Pompeo suggested on Monday that Erdogan and Trump had a firm agreement about the Kurds, telling CNBC that "the Turks would ensure that the folks that we'd fought with, that had assisted us in the counter-ISIS campaign would be protected". On Dec. 23, he said there would be a "slow & highly coordinated pullout of US troops from the area".

The White House has not yet publicly altered it's most recent criteria, those announced by Bolton a week ago: that ISIS must be defeated and the Kurdish forces' security guaranteed before the American troops all come out. The first of those criteria is unmet, but feasible, as the terror group now holds only a small patch of land in Syria.

Friday's announcement signalled the first such withdrawal since the president's announcement, Rahman said.

"If the [withdrawal] is put off with ridiculous excuses like Turks are massacring Kurds, which do not reflect reality, we will implement this decision", Cavusoglu said, noting: "We will decide on its timing and we will not receive permission from anyone".

Concerns have been raised about the safety after the withdrawal of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), whose main component the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) have been accused of being terrorists by Turkey.

"It's clear that the administration has no real plan", said Sen.


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