U.S. Syria withdrawal officially underway, expected to take 3-4 months

1 2018 Turkish and U.S. troops conduct joint patrols around the Syrian town of Manbij as part of an agreement that aimed to ease tensions between the two NATO allies

MinistryTrump's Syria Pull-Out US and Turkey on Thin Ice Over Kurds… Again

A spokesperson for the US -led coalition against the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) said the withdrawal had gone ahead despite mixed messages from the White House over the fate of the 2,000 troops operating in the country.

Col Sean Ryan told Agence France-Presse in a statement: "Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria".

A convoy of ten United States military vehicles was seen leaving a base in Hasakah province in northeast Syria and heading towards the Iraqi border, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. A convoy of about 10 armored vehicles and some trucks pulled out of Rmeilan, Syria, heading for and into Iraq. Trump's decision drew intense criticism that the USA was abandoning its local Kurdish allies and led to the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis and Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter ISIS.

On Sunday, National Security Adviser John Bolton set out stringent conditions for the proposed withdrawal, saying the defense of allies must first be assured.

The Trump administration is yet to decide how it plans to withdraw its troops from Syria, according to several senators said Thursday, following a closed-door metering of Senate Armed Services Committee and Pentagon officials, Stars and Stripes reported.

Residents near border-crossing points typically used by USA forces moving in and out of Syria from Iraq told Reuters they had seen no obvious or large-scale movements following Friday's announcement.

A second U.S. defense official said the military had conducted a number of preparations for a deliberate withdrawal.

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American troops sent to help with the pullout are reportedly already in the region, specifically in Kuwait and the al-Asad air base in Iraq. It also led to major criticism that the USA was abandoning its local Kurdish allies amid Turkish threats of an imminent attack.

Bolton, on a visit to the region this week, said the US pullout was conditional on defeating IS and guarantees that the Kurds would be protected. Moscow in particular has seized the initiative across the Middle East to the detriment of the U.S.'s interests, and has urged talks between the Kurdish forces and Damascus.

The withdrawal comes amid a escalating tensions between the Syrian Kurds and the Turkish government, which has promised an imminent attack. The withdrawal benefits Syrian President Bashar Assad and his worldwide backers, Russian Federation and Iran, who are primed to move into the region to fill a vacuum left behind by the Americans.

Most immediately impacted may be America's Syrian Kurdish allies, who proved an effective fighting force against Islamic State militants. The lira fell sharply Tuesday on fears of renewed U.S.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday that the thousands of Turkish troops amassed along the Syrian border would attack whether the USA is out or not.

In the weeks following his announcement, Mr Trump has given differing signals over the future of U.S. involvement in the country.

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