US Starts Withdrawing Supplies, But Not Troops, From Syria

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Masoud Barzani leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in the province's capital Arbil during a Middle East tour

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Masoud Barzani leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in the province's capital Arbil during a Middle East tour

The U.S. -led military coalition in Syria has begun the process of withdrawing from Syria amid conflicting reports over the status of troops.

Critics of Trump's decision, including within his own Republican camp, have said that a precipitous withdrawal would shatter USA policy in Syria and allow ISIS to rebuild.

Witnesses on the ground told the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights they saw 10 armored vehicles, and other equipment, roll out from a US base in Rmeilan in Hassakeh province and head toward neighboring Iraq. In a statement, it said the US -led Operation Inherent Resolve "has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria".

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said he will carry out the long-planned offensive against the YPG, regardless of the USA withdrawal pace.

A USA army vehicle supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces in Hajin, eastern Syria, on December 15, 2018.

"The Americans have a right to make decisions that are in their country's security and national interests", said Ilham Ahmed, who co-chairs the US -backed Syrian Democratic Council in northeast Syria.

He spoke before the announcement on the US withdrawal and did not address it.

"CJTF-OIR has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria", spokesman Colonel Sean Ryan told AFP in a statement, referring to the US-led anti-jihadist force. Following the announcement, he was forced to reiterate the U.S.'s commitment to its more substantial troop to neighboring Iraq, where the US -led coalition is also fighting ISIS.

"However, we will confirm that there has been no redeployment of military personnel from Syria to date".

"Although we made a clear agreement with U.S. President Trump, different voices are emerging from different parts of the administration", Erdogan said as Bolton prepared to leave town after meeting other Turkish officials.

"It is not possible for us to swallow the message Bolton gave from Israel", Erdogan said in the Turkish Parliament after refusing to meet with Bolton on his visit to Turkey.

"That includes planning for the moving of people and equipment, preparation of facilities to accept retrograde equipment", the official said, noting that no troops had been withdrawn yet.

Extending the timeline further, national security adviser John Bolton said on Sunday that the pullout was conditional on the defeat of the last remnants of the Islamic State and guarantees from Turkey that it would not attack Kurdish forces aligned with the United States.

FILE - In this Wednesday, April 4, 2018 file photo, a US soldier, left, sits on an armored vehicle behind a sand barrier at a newly installed position near the front line between the U.S-backed Syrian Manbij Military Council and the Turkish-backed fighters, in Manbij, north Syria.

"When the time and place comes, the terrorists here will also be buried in the ditches and trenches they have dug", the minister said in southern Sanliurfa province.

Speaking to reporters in Moscow Friday, she said it appears to Moscow that the U.S.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also offered reassurance for the safety of the Kurds. On Thursday, Pompeo declared that the U.S.is a "force for good" in the Middle East.

The news follows weeks of confusion over Donald Trump's plans for United States withdrawal from the country.

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