Pentagon: Troops Have Begun Withdrawing From Syria

The New York Times reports:

The United States has started withdrawing its troops from Syria, an American military spokesman said on Friday, further muddling the Trump administration’s plans for disengagement from one of the Middle East’s most complex battlefields.

As recently as Sunday, President Trump’s national security adviser, John R. Bolton, had said that the pullout was conditional on circumstances that could leave American forces there for months or even years. That followed by less than a month President Trump’s announcement that he intended to pull out the roughly 2,000 American troops within 30 days.

The Guardian reports:

Col Sean Ryan told Agence France-Presse in a statement: “Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria. “Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troops movements.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the coalition had started reducing its presence at Rmelan airfield in the north-eastern province of Hasakah. Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the UK-based monitoring organisation, said some US forces withdrew from the Rmelan military base on Thursday.