Troop withdrawal from Syria has started, US official confirms

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Masoud Barzani leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in the province's capital Arbil during a Middle East tour

"Timetables or the timing of the withdrawal occurs as a result of the fulfillment of the conditions and the establishment of the circumstances that we want to see", Bolton said Sunday, which struck a different tone than the December 19 announcement White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders made, in which she said the USA had already begun pulling American troops.

Trump and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke by telephone on Sunday and "agreed to ensure coordination between their countries' military, diplomatic and other officials to avoid a power vacuum which could result following any abuse of the withdrawal and transition phase in Syria", the Turkish presidency said in a statement.

The official, who asked not to be named, told Anadolu Agency the removal of "some of the equipment" had begun.

"On Thursday, some American forces withdrew from the Rmeilan military base in Hasakeh province", Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Britain-based monitoring organisation, said.

The US military has removed some equipment from Syria, a defense official confirmed Thursday, following a report that the drawdown ordered by President Donald Trump is now underway.

Other analysts argued that it would be wrong for Trump to abandon USA allies the Kurds, who have been instrumental in fighting ISIS, because Turkey would likely launch an attack against them.

Trump's decision to remove troops from Syria sent shockwaves through the embattled region and led to the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis.

In the weeks following his announcement, Mr Trump has given differing signals over the future of United States involvement in the country.

But the Baghdad-based official did not give details and it is unclear how many vehicles or troop units had been withdrawn.

The comments were an example of the perspective that many Russian officials hold, which posits that the U.S.is an imperialist power working to maintain global hegemony. Turkey views the Kurdish YPG militia, which forms the core of the SDF force, as a national security threat.

"President Trump has made the decision to bring our troops home from Syria". Syria's deputy foreign minister said on Wednesday he was optimistic about renewed dialogue with the Kurds.

The fate of USA troops in Syria was further muddled Tuesday when Turkish President Recep Erdogan said Bolton made a "grave mistake" when he demanded Turkey pledge protection of the American supported Kurdish fighters.

Syrian Kurds demonstrate against threats from Turkey to carry out a fresh offensive following the US decision to withdraw their troops in the Syrian Kurdish-majority city Qamishli, on December 28, 2018. If not, the Trump administration would be accused of abandoning an ally to a grim fate.

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