U.S. starts with­draw­ing sup­plies, but not troops, from Syria

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Robert Burns

WASH­ING­TON >> The U.S. mil­i­tary says it has started pulling equip­ment, but not troops, out of Syria as a first step in meet­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s de­mand for a com­plete mil­i­tary with­drawal.

The an­nounce­ment is fu­el­ing con­cern about how quickly the U.S. will aban­don its Kur­dish al­lies, amid con­tra­dic­tory state­ments re­cently by Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials on an exit timetable.

The with­drawal be­gan with ship­ments of mil­i­tary equip­ment, U.S. de­fense of­fi­cials said. But in com­ing weeks, the con­tin­gent of about 2,000 troops is ex­pected to de­part even as the White House says it will keep pres­sure on the Is­lamic State group. Once the troops are gone, the U.S. will have ended three years of or­ga­niz­ing, arm­ing, ad­vis­ing and pro­vid­ing air cover for Syr­ian, Kur­dish and Arab fight­ers in an open-ended cam­paign de­vised by the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion to deal the IS group a last­ing de­feat.

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