US withdrawal from Syria begins after contradictory messages from John Bolton and Mike Pompeo
13 January, 2019, 18:24
But in the weeks since he gave the order, and the Pentagon began to implement it, Trump himself and members of his administration have delivered mixed messages about when the withdrawal may actually occur.
Very complicated: Bolduc, who served in the Pentagon during the United States troop withdrawal from Iraq in 2011, said the logistical challenge of getting out of Syria will be less taxing, but the Pentagon still must discern important questions - such as the size of the pullout, and the weapons and equipment that will be turned over.
Military planners are still working on the basis that all troops will be withdrawn from Syria. He said the administration made a decision to go ahead with the withdrawal despite the military's concerns.
The woman, whose name was withheld due to security concerns said in her testimony that she lived with a constant fear of being raped during her time in the terrorist organization, like all other women, Anadolu Agency reported.
In a rare acknowledgment that French troops were also in Syria, he said they would leave when there is a political solution in the country.
A convoy of ten United States military vehicles was seen leaving a base in Hasakah province in northeast Syria and heading towards the Iraqi border, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Senior US officials were shocked too, among them Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who quit in protest.
It said a convoy of ten armoured vehicles and some trucks had pulled out of Rmeilan, in Syria's north west, into Iraq.
The coalition, which also includes countries such as France and Britain, was formed in mid-2014 to counter IS, which had seized swathes of Iraq and Syria and proclaimed a "caliphate".
USA troops are still working with a partner known as the Syrian Democratic Forces to stamp out the last IS holdouts in the Middle Euphrates River Valley near the Iraqi border.
The battle against die-hard jihadists in remote areas along the Iraqi-Syrian border and the hunt for IS supremo Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the world's most wanted man, could last indefinitely.
"We are confident we can achieve an outcome that achieves both of those", Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told journalists in Abu Dhabi. But in a speech on the same day, he ironically added: "When America retreats, chaos often follows".
He added that the only way to end the rivalries and conflict in the region is by containing and defeating Iran, and vowed "expel every last Iranian boot" from Syria.
His announcement, which came after a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was criticised even within his own camp and is already having major repercussions on the almost eight-year-old conflict.
Turkey insists its military actions are aimed at Kurdish fighters in Syria - the Syrian Kurdish Peoples Protection Units, or YPG - whom it regards as terrorists, and not against the Kurdish people.
Turkey considers America's Kurdish allies of the YPG militia - who were vital in the ground war against ISIS - a terrorist group.
The group has already started reaching out to Damascus and its Russian sponsor.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also lashed out at the anti-Iran conference, describing it as a "desperate circus" that will disgrace the participants.
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