The US-led coalition against Islamic State has begun the process of withdrawing from Syria, its spokesman said on Friday, affirming the start of a pullout that has been clouded by mixed messages from US officials. The official told CBS News senior national security correspondent David Martin that equipment had begun moving out earlier this week.
"On Thursday, some American forces withdrew from the Rmeilan military base in Hassakeh province", said Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Britain-based war monitor, which relies on reports from activists on the ground.
USA troops have begun withdrawing from Syria, compounding weeks of confusion over Donald Trump's policy in the Middle East and raising fears over the fate of America's Kurdish allies.
The announcement that USA troops would leave the civil war-racked country - where they have been deployed to assist in the multinational fight against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group - shocked global partners and American politicians alike.
Mr Trump abruptly announced the USA withdrawal from Syria on December 19, blindsiding United States allies and triggering a confrontation within the U.S. administration that led to the resignation of his defence secretary. Analysts argued 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.
Sexist comments row: Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul suspended pending inquiry
While Rahul was expected to sit out of the playing XI for the first ODI, Pandya was a sure-starter in the role of an all-rounder. A source in the BCCI said the two will be issued fresh show cause notices before a formal enquiry begins.
But the Baghdad-based official did not give details and it is unclear how many vehicles or troop units had been withdrawn. Top U.S. officials were shocked too, among them Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who quit in protest.
The US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said the move had "dangerous implications" for stability, would "negatively affect the campaign against terrorism" and create "a political and military vacuum". Syria's deputy foreign minister said on Wednesday he was optimistic about renewed dialogue with the Kurds.
On Sunday, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said American troops will not leave northeastern Syria until IS is defeated and American-allied Kurdish fighters are protected, signaling a slow-down in Trump's initial order for a rapid withdrawal.
Syrian Kurds demonstrate against threats from Turkey to carry out a fresh offensive following the USA decision to withdraw their troops in the Syrian Kurdish-majority city Qamishli, on December 28, 2018.
Shortly after Trump's announcement, some US officials began to walk it back. If not, the Trump administration would be accused of abandoning an ally to a grim fate.