Pompeo vows United States troops will leave Syria

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The U.S. -led military coalition in Syria has begun the process of withdrawing from Syria amid conflicting reports over the status of troops.

The coalition "has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria", he said. "Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troop movements", Colonel Sean Ryan said.

But following a backlash from Republicans and Democrats in Congress and the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Trump said the troops would be withdrawn "slowly".

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton this week suggested America's withdrawal was contingent on assurances from Turkey it would not attack.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday there is "no contradiction whatsoever" in the administration's Syria strategy, the Journal reported, declaring the withdrawal will take place.

The official said the movement of equipment is part of what the military calls the start of a "deliberate withdrawal" from Syria, where some 2,000 troops have been working with a coalition for Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters to defeat the remnants of the Islamic State group.

A USA military official spoke Friday of the withdrawal process, but declined to comment on specific timetables or movements.

Syrian government delegates have been engaging in talks with Kurdish leaders over the course of the multi-year war, and Washington's pull-out could encourage the Kurds to finally agree to a compromise with Damascus, as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) would be vulnerable to a Turkish assault in northern Syria following a United States withdrawal.

19 announcement that he was moving to disentangle US troops from Syria's complex battlefield sparked fears that the move might undo efforts to defeat the Islamic State's final remnant in Syria.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian of France, which is part of the US -led coalition, welcomed what he believed was a slower withdrawal by the U.S after pressure from its allies.

America's operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the country were to continue during the withdrawal process.

"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 during his tour of the Middle East this week, according to the AP. "For security reasons, I am not going to provide further details at this time". Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government considers the Kurdish YPG militia in Syria to be a terrorist organization linked to Kurdish separatist groups within Turkey.

Friday's announcement signalled the first such withdrawal since the president's announcement, Rahman said.

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.

Turkey views the USA -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.

And numerous Trump administration's decisions have stoked confusion and angered many regional allies.

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