US Troops Begin 'Process of Withdrawing' From Syria

Donald Trump announced last month that 2,000 US troops would be withdrawn

Donald Trump announced last month that 2,000 US troops would be withdrawn

Earlier this week, however, United States national security adviser John Bolton said the USA would expect guarantees that the Kurds would be protected after American troops leave the area.

Robertson, in his statement, said the coalition had carried out "logistical measures" to support a withdrawal but did not enter into details.

The US-led coalition has several other bases across northeastern Syria, as well as in neighbouring Iraq, where Mr Trump has said American forces will remain.

Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, this week tried to make the case for guarantees that Turkey would not harm the YPG after the withdrawal.

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Opponents of the move claim that the pullout will allow Russia, Iran and the Syrian regime to expand their influence in the region.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan labelled Mr Bolton's comments unacceptable and a "grave mistake".

"We are confident we can achieve an outcome that achieves both of those", Pompeo told journalists in Abu Dhabi.

The U.S. and Turkey have been allies for more than six decades, but in recent years their relationship has been repeatedly strained by disputes.

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The Gulf emirate is his latest stop in a regional tour aimed at reassuring allies after a Trump's shock announcement in December that USA troops would be withdrawn from Syria. But in coming weeks, the contingent of about 2,000 troops is expected to depart even as the White House vows to keep pressure on the Islamic State group. The Kurdish groups that control a vast swathe of northern Syria have now turned to Moscow and Damascus in the hope of striking a political deal that will stave off Turkey and shield their autonomy in the north. A US troop pullout leaves the Kurds exposed to Turkish attacks from one side, and Syrian government troops on the other.

Graham highlighted that Turkey's concern regarding the PKK's Syrian offshoot People's Democratic Units (YPG) elements "must be addressed in a real way to ensure that Turkey's borders are secure and are protected from any threats".

The US-led coalition, which also includes countries such as France and Britain, was formed in mid-2014 to counter the expansion of the Islamic State group after it proclaimed its self-styled "caliphate".

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

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Speaking in Egypt yesterday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressed the troop pullout from Syria would go ahead as he urged Middle East nations to forge a common stand against Tehran.

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