US Exit from Syria Starts with Equipment, Not Troops

14 January, 2019, 03:29 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • ‘We Don’t Take Orders From Bolton’: Pentagon Plans Syria Withdrawal

Turkey already occupies and effectively runs local affairs in vast territories in northwestern Syria, including Afrin which came under an intense Turkish military campaign a year ago that resulted in thousands of deaths and displacement of some 160,000 locals as Erdogan promised to give the region back to the "rightful owners, Arabs".

Mr Bolton was on a visit to Ankara to seek guarantees over the Kurdish fighters, but President Erdogan declined to meet him.

President Donald Trump on Sunday tweeted that the "long overdue pullout from Syria" is starting, and threatened that the us will "devastate Turkey economically" if they attack Kurdish forces in the war-torn country. Fighter jets and special forces have played key roles in efforts to claw back the territory lost to IS.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis had resigned immediately after Trump's claim in December that the Islamic State group had been defeated.

Democratic Party legislator Adam Schiff on Friday lashed out at the Donald Trump administration for its decision to pull the USA out of Syria.

But another source close to Kurdish military officials in Syria told VOA it appeared the US military is in the process of relocating equipment and personnel within Syria. Recent reports have indicated the USA is considering leaving some troops in place at the al-Tanf base in southern Syria, which is seen as a key bulwark against Iran.

The coalition "has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria".

The top US diplomat said he was "optimistic" that Kurds who fought alongside USA forces against the Islamic State group in Syria are not threatened by pledges from Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to launch military operations against what he terms Kurdish "terrorists".

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

Later, a USA defence official said no American troops have withdrawn yet from Syria, but some military cargo has been pulled out.

In Cairo on Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that although Trump has chose to bring troops home, he will keep up the fight against the IS group more broadly. -Turkish consultations as part of the "deliberate and coordinated" withdrawal of American forces from Syria.

The Defense Department wants to show progress to Trump and the public that they are following through on the President's orders to withdraw troops even though Bolton has indicated troops could remain for some time.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, holds a joint press conference with Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, at the Sheraton Grand in Doha, Qatar, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019. The result is a head-spinning sequence that has left both friends and foes confused and ensured that local tribal leaders will nearly certainly never trust the United States again, even if we have to go back into Syria to demolish more ISIS positions as they reconstitute.

In tweets, Trump claimed that "Russia, Iran and Syria have been the biggest beneficiaries of the long term US policy of destroying ISIS in Syria".

Comments by Bolton on the matter drew a quick rejection this past week from Erdogan, who said they were a "serious mistake" and that Turkey "cannot make any concessions in this regard".

America's operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the country were to continue during the withdrawal process.



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