Withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria begins

A Pantsir-S surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery weapon system and a S-400 Triumf anti-aircraft weapon system during the combat duty drills of the surface to air-misile regiment in the Moscow Region

A Pantsir-S surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery weapon system and a S-400 Triumf anti-aircraft weapon system during the combat duty drills of the surface to air-misile regiment in the Moscow Region

Colonel Sean Ryan, spokesman for the US-led coalition fighting Islamic State, said the process of removing troops for the country had started.

The fate of US troops in Syria was further muddled Tuesday when Turkish President Recep Erdogan said Bolton made a "grave mistake" when he demanded Turkey pledge protection of the American supported Kurdish fighters.

"Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troops movements", the Baghdad-based official said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press.

The news that a withdrawal had begun was confirmed on Thursday by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, based in the United Kingdom, which monitors activity in the war-town country through a network of activists.

It said a convoy of about ten armored vehicles, in addition to some trucks, pulled out from Syria's northeastern town of Rmeilan into Iraq.

Mr Trump's national security adviser John Bolton was also sent to the region this week to reassure Israel, which is equally concerned about the Iranian presence in Syria, and to deter Turkey from launching its threatened offensive against the US-backed Syrian Kurdish militia that led the fight against ISIS in north-east Syria. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has also sought to reassure the Kurds they will be safe after the USA completely pulls out.

"We can not make any concessions in this regard", said Erdogan, who vowed that "those involved in a terror corridor" in Syria "will receive the necessary punishment". Trump administration officials also have argued that the US needs to stay in Syria to counter Iran's presence there.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Turkey may buy U.S. Patriot missile systems if conditions are right, but insists such a deal would be impossible if Washington forces Ankara to cancel its agreement to purchase S-400 antiaircraft missiles from Russian Federation. Following the announcement, he was forced to reiterate the U.S.'s commitment to its more substantial troop to neighboring Iraq, where the USA -led coalition is also fighting ISIS.

Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the Americans are not serious about withdrawing from Syria.

The US president concluded: "Our troops are coming home!" These include troops to provide additional security. The first of those criteria is unmet, but feasible, as the terror group now holds only a small patch of land in Syria.

Now, America's allies on the ground are turning to Washington's rivals for protection.

Regardless, Damascus and the Kurds are seemingly edging closer towards a deal, with Syrian Army troops arriving in Manbij - a city Ankara has openly threatened to target unless Kurdish forces withdraw - just days after Trump pledged to pull the US' 2,000-strong military contingent out of Syria.

"It's clear that the administration has no real plan", said Sen.

Friday's announcement signalled the first such withdrawal since the president's announcement, Rahman said.

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