US-led coali­tion starts Syria pullout

Western Daily Press (Saturday) - - Uk & World News -

THE US-led mil­i­tary coali­tion has be­gun the process of with­draw­ing from Syria, an Amer­i­can mil­i­tary of­fi­cial said.

Colonel Sean Ryan, spokesman for the coali­tion fight­ing the Is­lamic State group, said the US had started “the process of our de­lib­er­ate with­drawal from Syria”.

“Out of con­cern for op­er­a­tional se­cu­rity, we will not dis­cuss spe­cific time­lines, lo­ca­tions or troop move­ments,” he said in a state­ment.

There were no other de­tails, and it was not im­me­di­ately clear how many ve­hi­cles or whether any troop units had with­drawn.

The Bri­tain-based Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights, which mon­i­tors the con­flict in Syria through a net­work of ac­tivists on the ground, said the with­drawal be­gan on Thurs­day night. It said a con­voy of about 10 ar­moured ve­hi­cles and some trucks pulled out from Syria’s north-eastern town of Rmeilan into Iraq.

Con­fir­ma­tion of the first with­drawals comes amid con­fu­sion over plans to im­ple­ment Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s pullout or­der and threats from Turkey to at­tack the Kurds, who have been Amer­ica’s part­ners on the ground in the war against IS in Syria.

There are 2,000 Amer­i­can troops in Syria. Mr Trump’s abrupt de­ci­sion in De­cem­ber to pull them out, declar­ing in a tweet the de­feat of IS, sent shock­waves across the re­gion and led to the res­ig­na­tion of US de­fence min­is­ter James Mat­tis and the top US en­voy to the anti-IS coali­tion.

It also led to ma­jor crit­i­cism that the US was aban­don­ing its Kur­dish al­lies amid Turk­ish threats of an im­mi­nent at­tack.

Russia’s For­eign Min­istry said the Amer­i­cans are not se­ri­ous about with­draw­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.