US Navy Sends Warship Toward Syria Amid US's Expected Withdrawal

US Navy Sends Warship Toward Syria Amid US's Expected Withdrawal

The U.S. -led coalition against Islamic State began the process of withdrawing from Syria on Friday, making good on Trump's announcement that he had made a decision to remove 2,000 U.S. troops.

The official also would not say what part of Syria the equipment was in, although it's widely expected the drawdown will begin in northern Syria.

USA forces were only removing some equipment deemed not essential to ongoing military operations, said the official who agreed to discuss the operations on the condition of anonymity.

Representatives of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a military coalition dominated by Kurdish fighters, declined to comment Friday, suggesting instead that the US military should explain its plans.

The U.S. started "the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria", said Col. Sean Ryan, a spokesman for the coalition fighting the Islamic State. "For purposes of operational security, we will not discuss specific troop movements or timelines".

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.

This is a developing story. It said a convoy of about 10 armored vehicles, in addition to some trucks, pulled out from Syria's northeastern town of Rmeilan into Iraq.

Zakharova also said Russian Federation remains committed to an agreement it had struck with Turkey to stabilize a de-escalation zone in Syria's Idlib province, but Moscow is anxious by an increase in the number of ceasefire violations there.

United States troops have begun withdrawing from Syria, compounding weeks of confusion over Donald Trump's policy in the Middle East and raising fears over the fate of America's Kurdish allies.

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Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu went so far on Wednesday as to say that if the USA withdrawal from Syria was delayed, "then we will put this decision into practice", suggesting Turkey could go after the Kurds in short order.

The president has said he has no plans to withdraw from Iraq, where some 5,200 US troops are deployed to train and assist security forces battling ISIS.

Kurdish officials, meanwhile, have demanded clarifications from the USA over its intentions.

But Bolton said Friday during a radio interview that talks are ongoing between the US military and Turkey regarding the Kurdish forces that have battled IS.

Allies were stunned and Donald Trump's defence secretary resigned after the pullout was announced last month.

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton this week suggested America's withdrawal was contingent on assurances from Turkey it would not attack. A US troop pullout leaves the Kurds exposed to Turkish attacks from one side, and Syrian government troops on the other.

On an unannounced visit to troops stationed near the Syrian border Friday morning, Turkey's defense minister Hulusi Akar reiterated Ankara is "determined" to fight Kurdish militias it considers terrorists and said military preparations were ongoing.

Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters on Friday that it appears to Moscow that the U.S.

Karam reported from Beirut.

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