Thursday, 17 January, 2019

U.S. pullout from Syria begins amid confusion over Pentagon timetable

U.S. soldier left sits on an armored vehicle behind a sand barrier at a newly installed position near the front line between the U.S-backed Syrian Manbij Military Council and the Turkish-backed fight ‘We Don’t Take Orders From Bolton’: Pentagon Plans Syria Withdrawal
Melinda Barton | 13 January, 2019, 18:23

According to the statement, the Polish diplomat, for his part, said that the summit's agenda was not anti-Iranian and that Warsaw's stance on the issue was different from recent statements made by U.S. officials.

The US-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) confirmed on Friday that the military had started the "deliberate withdrawal" of the roughly 2,000 American troops in Syria.

"We are not withdrawing troops at this stage", an unidentified USA defense official said.

About 2,000 U.S. military personnel are reported to be deployed in Syria. He'll also be promoting a US -backed initiative to form what some have termed an "Arab NATO" that would bring the region together in a military alliance to counter threats from Iran. The group also reports that coalition reinforcements arrived at different bases Thursday.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in Cairo, the capital of Egypt, on Thursday that America will withdraw from Syria despite criticism of the move.

Why it matters: Bolton's insistence that the United States still stop the re-emergence of the Islamic State and Iranian-backed proxies in Syria could frustrate military planners trying to interpret Trump's withdrawal order.

Earlier this week, Bolton's calls for the protection of the YPG Syrian Kurdish militia as a condition for a Syrian withdrawal angered Turkey.

"We recognize the Turkish people's right and President Erdogan's right to defend their country from terrorists and we also know that those who aren't terrorists, those who were fighting alongside us all this time, deserve to be protected and we are confident that we can achieve an outcome that achieves both of those: protect the Turks from legitimate terror threats and prevent any substantial risks to folks who don't present terror risks to Turkey", Pompeo told reporters.

Pompeo said Trump considers the kingdom a "key ally" for the USA and their partnership will keep going.

Turkey considers the YPG to be part of the PKK, or Kurdistan Workers Party, a separatist group in eastern Turkey which has been labeled a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the European Union.

An Iranian foreign ministry official told Poland's Chargé d'Affaires in Tehran, Wojciech Unoltin, that Iran saw the meeting as a "hostile act against Iran" and warned that Tehran could reciprocate, the official IRNA newsagency reported.

Erdogan also warned that preparations were complete for a military operation against the YPG. "That's fine, you all write what you like, but the President's been very clear, and Bolton and I have been very clear about this too, that the threat from radical Islamic terrorism is real", Pompeo said.

Iran hosted tens of thousands of Polish war refugees who were brought to the country after surviving work camps in the Soviet Union and before they migrated to then-emerging Israel, New Zealand and some African countries.

The US decision has injected new uncertainty into the eight-year-long Syrian war and spurred a flurry of contacts over how a resulting security vacuum will be filled across a swathe of northern and eastern Syria where the US forces are stationed. Ashley Thompson was the editor. Caty Weaver adapted it for Learning English.