U.S troops start pulling out from Syria

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An American military official says the US -led military coalition has begun the process of withdrawing troops from Syria.

The US-led military coalition in Syria has begun pulling out troops, a spokesman said on Friday without elaborating on locations or timetables.

In the past 24 hours, US forces have withdrawn 10 vehicles and 150 personnel from the Rmelan military base, one of the first installations the USA -led coalition established in Syria in 2014, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 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.

In his comments, Bolton had said that he, President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held the understanding that Turkey had agreed "not to harm the Kurds who had fought with us against ISIS".

The Trump administration now says the withdrawal timeline is open-ended to provide time to arrange an agreement between Turkey and US -backed Kurdish militia groups.

National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have both visited countries in the region to explain the shift in USA policy.

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

"These have been folks that have fought with us and it's important that we do everything we can to ensure that those folks that fought with us are protected", Pompeo said of the Kurds while visiting Erbil, the capital of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, after talks in Baghdad.

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"We will very soon mobilize to eliminate the terrorist organization in Syria", Erdogan said. Also, U.S. troops are among 200 to 300 coalition troops at a garrison in southern Syria known as al-Tanf, where they train and accompany local Syrian opposition forces on patrols to counter the IS group. The U.S. has about 2,000 troops in the country.

However, with many of Trump's hawkish security and defence advisers opposed to the move, the U.S. president could renege on his promise to end America's military presence in Syria, as he abruptly did previous year.

A senior Kurdish politician said the Kurds are aware of the USA beginning its withdraw process, describing it as "America's decision". The circumstances could prove especially hard, experts say, as Washington faces a partial government shutdown with acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan only 10 days into his new job.

Turkey's top military commanders were on the Turkish-Syrian border to inspect troops that have been massing there in preparation for an operation against the YPG, as America's Kurdish allies in Syria are known, Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Friday.

Earlier this week, Bolton called security assurances for the USA -backed Kurdish forces a necessary condition for the withdrawal of US forces from Syria.

"We're going to be discussing the president's decision to withdraw, but to do so from northeast Syria in a way that makes sure that ISIS is defeated and is not able to revive itself and become a threat again", Bolton said when meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

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

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