US starts withdrawing supplies from Syria

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The United States has started the "deliberate withdrawal" process of its forces from Syria, US military officials confirmed on Friday, but they refused to provide any details on exactly what troops and equipment were being moved.

The U.S. has started "the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria", Col. Sean Ryan, a spokesman for the coalition fighting the Islamic State group, told the Associated Press without further elaboration.

Mr Trump initially signalled a rapid withdrawal from Syria and U.S. officials said they expected troops to be out with 30 days.

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. A convoy of about 10 armored vehicles and some trucks pulled out of Rmeilan, Syria, heading for and into Iraq. Mr. Trump's abrupt decision in December to pull them, declaring in a tweet the defeat of ISIS, sent shockwaves across the region and led to the resignation of U.S. Defense Minister James Mattis and the top U.S. envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition.

Adding to the confusion, a military spokesman said the U.S. had already begun "the process of our deliberate withdrawal" from Syria.

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After initially tweeting that he would bring back U.S. troops "now", Mr Trump this week said the USA would "be leaving at a proper pace" while "continuing to fight IS and doing all else that is prudent and necessary".

"It doesn't materially alter our capacity to continue to perform the military actions that we need to perform", Pompeo told reporters in Abu Dhabi.

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

Worldwide players in the conflict have been in talks about the future of former USA territory in Syria. But the peace and stability of areas US forces withdraw from "must be guaranteed", she added.

He said that Turkey and other countries in the middle East are able to resist the remnants of ISIS in Syria without the support of the American side.

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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.

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

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.

In Cairo on Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that although Trump has chose to bring troops home, he will keep up the fight against the IS group more broadly.

The Defense Department wants to show progress to Trump and the public that they are following through on the President's orders to withdraw troops even though Bolton has indicated troops could remain for some time.

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