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WorldU.S. Equipment, but Not Troops, Begins Exiting Syria in Chaotic Withdrawal

23:55  11 january  2019
23:55  11 january  2019 Source:   nytimes.com

US begins removing some military equipment from Syria

US begins removing some military equipment from Syria The first US military ground equipment has been withdrawn from Syria in recent days, signaling the beginning of the drawdown ordered by President Donald Trump, according to an administration official with direct knowledge of the operation. "Some cargo has already moved," the official told CNN. Due to security concerns, the official would not describe exactly what the cargo was or whether it had been moved out by aircraft or ground vehicles. 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.

The abrupt, chaotic nature of the move Which Groups Have Control in Syria . As of mid-December, the Syrian government holds the central By late Wednesday, it had yet to defend the consequences of the troop withdrawal , or explain what the American strategy in Syria will be once the American

In an unannounced trip to Iraq on Wednesday, President Donald Trump defended his decision to withdraw troops from Syria despite criticism from military officials and allies who don't think the job fighting Islamic State militants there is over. (Dec. 26) AP.

U.S. Equipment, but Not Troops, Begins Exiting Syria in Chaotic Withdrawal© DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images A picture taken on December 30, 2018, shows a line of US military vehicles in Syria's northern city of Manbij. - President Donald Trump announced last week that US troops would depart from Syria, leaving Manbij residents dreading a long-threatened attack by Turkey. (Photo by Delil SOULEIMAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The American military has started withdrawing some equipment, but no troops yet, from Syria as part of President Trump’s order to wind down that battleground against the Islamic State, two Defense Department officials said on Friday amid continuing confusion over plans to disengage from one of the Middle East’s most complex conflicts.

Military approves 'conditions-based' Syria withdrawal plan

Military approves 'conditions-based' Syria withdrawal plan The U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has approved a now-in-motion plan for withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria that "is conditions-based" with no timeline, according to a Pentagon spokesman. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) "has an approved framework for the withdrawal of forces from Syria, and is now engaged in executing that withdrawal," Cmdr. Sean Robertson said in a statement.

The US has begun withdrawing its forces from Syria , according to wire reports that cite a spokesman for the US -led military coalition. The announced withdrawal of US troops however failed to materialize immediately. According to a Friday CNN report, some US hardware has been pulled out

BEIRUT, Lebanon — The United States has started withdrawing its troops from Syria , an American military spokesman said on Friday, further muddling the Trump administration’ s plans for disengagement from one of the Middle East’ s most complex battlefields.

The officials said the number of American troops might actually increase slightly in Syria, to help protect the final process of pulling out — an operation that is still expected to take at least four to six months to complete. There are currently about 2,000 troops — mostly Army soldiers and Marines — in northeast Syria or in the Middle Euphrates River Valley to oust the remaining pockets of Islamic State fighters and secure newly-liberated areas from their return.

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A vaguely worded statement from the American military headquarters in Baghdad, which is overseeing the fight against the Islamic State, said the withdrawal process from Syria had begun. Last month, officials said, Mr. Trump said that he intended to pull out American troops within 30 days.

Iran Guards chief insists no withdrawal from Syria

Iran Guards chief insists no withdrawal from Syria The head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards said Wednesday there would be no withdrawal of Iranian forces from Syria as he dismissed Israel threats, conservative news agency Fars reported. "All military and revolutionary advisers, as well as equipment and weapons necessary for training and empowering the Islamic resistance fighters and for supporting the oppressed people of Syria... will be kept there," the news agency quoted Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari as saying. It was an apparent response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who on Tuesday warned Iran to remove its forces from Syria.

withdraw U . S . troops from Syria as soon as possible and told them he wants Arab allies to take over and Trump backtracked on his public insistence that the troop exit was imminent, now that the Even the beginning of a U . S . military withdrawal by the fall would allow Trump to claim fulfillment of

The withdrawal of U . S . military forces from Iraq began in December 2007 with the end of the Iraq War troop surge of 2007 and was completed by December 2011, bringing an end to the Iraq War.

But as recently as Sunday, the White House national security adviser, John R. Bolton, had said that the pullout was conditional — based on circumstances that could leave American forces there for months or even years.

The surprise announcement on Friday, from Col. Sean Ryan, the spokesman for the United States-led coalition against the Islamic State, gave no indication of whether any troops were being pulled out or whether the United States was taking other measures that could be considered a withdrawal.

Colonel Ryan said the coalition had “begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria,” adding that he would provide no further information about “specific timelines, locations or troop movements.”

The announcement, coming days after Mr. Bolton’s remarks, added to a climate of chaos surrounding Washington’s policy on Syria at a time when Turkey has threatened to invade the country.

U.S. allies in Syria voice concern about planned troop withdrawal

U.S. allies in Syria voice concern about planned troop withdrawal Roughly 2,000 troops has not only supported local fighters on the ground, but it provides air power against ISIS targets . Jets provide vital aerial surveillance and wave after wave of devastating airstrikes. Forces are still on the offensive against ISIS holdouts and they're facing fierce resistance. One senior security source told CBS News he expects the fighting to continue for another two months.

WASHINGTON — President Trump has instructed his military commanders to quickly wrap up the American military operation in Syria so that he can bring troops home within a few months, senior administration officials said on Wednesday.

Baghdad -- The U . S . military has begun the process of withdrawing troops from Syria , a U . S . defense official confirmed to CBS News on Friday, saying it was expected The official told CBS News senior national security correspondent David Martin that equipment had begun moving out earlier this week.

Mr. Trump has made no secret of his desire to bring the troops home, saying that they were sent to fight the Islamic State and that their mission has nearly been accomplished. In an apparently snap decision following a telephone call with the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, he said last month that he wanted the troops out within a month.

That decision prompted the resignation of two top aides — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy to the coalition fighting the Islamic State — and the reformulation by Mr. Bolton, a hawkish adviser whose principal Middle East aim is to contain the ambitions of Iran, which is entrenched in Syria.

Reflecting the confusion, Interfax reported that the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, said in Moscow on Friday that the American military’s announcement added to the Kremlin’s growing doubts that the United States would soon withdraw from Syria.

It seems like Washington “is looking for a reason to stay,” she said. “I cannot share your confidence that they are leaving there because we never saw an official strategy.”

Fight against ISIS in Syria rages on despite calls for U.S. withdrawal

Fight against ISIS in Syria rages on despite calls for U.S. withdrawal An American-led coalition reported 575 airstrikes during the first two weeks of this month alone . But while these ground forces are making progress, CBS News was told ISIS is still putting up a strong resistance. Leaving the area, it was easy to see the destruction caused by some of the fiercest fighting the region has seen since the battle against ISIS began. For all the talk of withdrawing American troops, CBS News saw a convoy of U.S.-led coalition forces head straight for the front line. One commander said ISIS is now fighting for their very existence in a fight that is far from over.

US President Donald Trump is going to withdraw US forces deployed to Syria with the Coaltion against ISIS. “We have started the process of returning U . S . troops home from Syria as we transition to the The withdrawal of U . S . forces could also leave a power vacuum in Syria with Russia, Iran and

The US military has begun moving some equipment out of Syria , following Donald Trump’ s decision back in December to withdraw troops from the war-torn country. An unnamed US defense official told AFP on Thursday that he confirmed removing military equipment from Syria .

After Mr. Trump’s call for a rapid pullout, discussions with others in his administration led to the timeline being lengthened as diplomats sought to find a way to protect the United States’ Kurdish allies from a Turkish attack and to get Turkey to take over the fight against the jihadists.

The possible swift withdrawal of the American military in northern and eastern Syria alarmed many analysts, who warned that could threaten to hinder the Islamic State and unleash a potentially violent scramble between the other forces in Syria to fill the void.

The United States had intervened in Syria to work with local, Kurdish-led militias to fight the Islamic State, which had established a self-declared caliphate that spanned the border between Syria and Iraq.

As the militants were pushed back, the zone of American influence grew to include roughly one-quarter of Syria’s territory, where the militias set up local councils to conduct basic governance.

The Syrian government and its Russian and Iranian allies want the territory back for several reasons: its oil deposits; its agricultural land; reopening the border with Iraq; and reunification of the country, which has been shattered by a war that began in 2011.

Turkey also has interests in the area and sees the primary Kurdish militia there as a national security threat. It has sent its troops to the Syrian border and threatened to send them into Syria to fight the Kurds.

A United States withdrawal would make it easier for all those forces to make moves into the area, perhaps bringing them into conflict.

Follow Ben Hubbard on Twitter: @NYTBen.

Fox's Griffin: Was told by diplomat that Syria attack was 'direct result' of US pullout decision.
Fox News National Security Correspondent Jennifer Griffin reported that a senior foreign diplomat had told the network that the deadly suicide attack on U.S. troops in Syria was a "direct result of the announcement made by President Trump that U.S. forces are pulling out." 

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