‘We Don’t Take Orders From Bolton’: Pentagon Plans Syria Withdrawal

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‘We Don’t Take Orders From Bolton’: Pentagon Plans Syria Withdrawal

In the meantime, Russia's foreign ministry said on Friday that it had the impression that the United States wanted to stay in Syria despite the announced withdrawal of USA troops, RIA news agency reported.

"Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (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-militancy force.

In a statement, the Pentagon said that, "Out of concern for operational security, we will not be discussing specific troop movements or timelines, but we do expect to provide a periodic update on progress regarding percentages of equipment removed from Syria".

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 10 armored vehicles, in addition to some trucks, pulled out from Syria's northeastern town of Rmeilan into Iraq.

President Donald Trump's announcement last month that he had made a decision to withdraw 2,000 USA troops stunned allies that have joined Washington in the battle against Islamic State in Syria. Ironically, troops that are designated to help with the eventual withdrawal already are in the area, adding more more troops in the vicinity now than before President Donald Trump announced the Syria withdrawal in December.

US national security adviser John Bolton said Sunday American troops will not leave northeastern Syria until ISIS is defeated and USA -backed Kurds were protected. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is on a tour of the region, has also sought to reassure the Kurds that they will be safe after US troops withdraw from the country.

The US withdrawal from Syria has officially begun, a military official has said.

The CNN report added that officials it had previously spoken to said the Pentagon wants to signal to the president it is working towards his goals following his withdrawal decision last month.

While the USA military pullout is now officially underway it has made a slow start.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu went so far on Wednesday as to say that if the USA withdrawal from Syria was delayed, "then we will put this decision into practice", suggesting Turkey could go after the Kurds in short order.

Turkey views the US -backed YPG Syrian Kurdish militia as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged a 34-year insurgency in Turkey for Kurdish political and cultural rights, mostly in southeastern areas near Syria.

The US president concluded: "Our troops are coming home!" Syria's deputy foreign minister said on Wednesday he was optimistic about renewed dialogue with the Kurds. If not, the Trump administration would be accused of abandoning an ally to a grim fate.

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