Windsor Star - - NP -

Af­ter days of con­flict­ing state­ments about a time­line for Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s de­ci­sion to with­draw Amer­i­can forces from Syria, a U.S. de­fence of­fi­cial said Fri­day the process has be­gun with the re­moval of some equip­ment.

The of­fi­cial said it’s part of what the mil­i­tary calls a “de­lib­er­ate with­drawal” from Syria, where some 2,000 troops have been work­ing with a coali­tion of Syr­ian Kur­dish and Arab fight­ers to de­feat the rem­nants of the Is­lamic State group.

The of­fi­cial, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, pro­vided no num­bers, but said the equip­ment with­drawal is un­der­way and that an un­spec­i­fied num­ber of ad­di­tional U.S. troops have been brought into Syria to as­sist. There has been con­fu­sion over plans to im­ple­ment Trump’s pull­out or­der and threats from Turkey to at­tack the Kur­dish fight­ers, who Ankara views as ter­ror­ists be­cause of their ties to in­sur­gents within Turkey. Ear­lier this week, U.S. Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser John Bolton said Amer­i­can troops will not leave north­east­ern Syria un­til ISIL is de­feated and Amer­i­can-al­lied Kur­dish fight­ers are pro­tected, sig­nalling a slow­down in Trump’s ini­tial or­der for a rapid with­drawal.

A senior Kur­dish politi­cian said the Kurds are aware of the U.S. be­gin­ning the with­drawal, de­scrib­ing it as “Amer­ica’s de­ci­sion.”

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