President Donald Trump announced last month the decision to withdraw 2,000 U.S. troops who have deployed to Syria in support of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia, which have spearheaded the fight against the IS group. "Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troop movements".
U.S. 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.
Trump's decision to withdraw all of the 2,000 United States troops from the war-torn country prompted shockwaves among USA senior officials and U.S. allies in December.
Speaking in Cairo on Thursday, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo tried to dispel confusion, saying the US would continue to fight Islamic State as it withdraws and that "the United States will use diplomacy and work with our partners to expel every last Iranian boot, and work through the UN-led process to bring peace and stability to the long-suffering Syrian people".
Sean Robertson said that Operation Inherent Resolve "is implementing the orderly withdrawal of forces from northeast Syria within a framework coordinated across the United States government".
The massive, Wasp-class vessel, capable of carrying over 1,800 troops and/or dozens of armoured vehicles in its 13,600 square-foot well deck, was sent toward Syria along with other US Navy vessels to support the expected withdrawal, according to the newspaper.
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The surprise move comes amid conflicting statements over when a withdrawal would begin and at what pace since President Donald Trump abruptly announced the USA would leave last month.
On Friday, Bolton said that the militaries of the USA and Turkey are set to continue negotiating on the Kurdish issue.
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.
Pompeo suggested on Monday that Erdogan and Trump had a firm agreement about the Kurds, telling CNBC that "the Turks would ensure that the folks that we'd fought with, that had assisted us in the counter-ISIS campaign would be protected".
"When the time and place comes, the terrorists here will be buried in the ditches they have dug, as was done in previous operations", Akar told the Turkish troops.
Trump's national security advisor John Bolton on Sunday announced conditions for a withdrawal that appeared to delay it indefinitely. He spoke before the announcement on the US withdrawal and did not address it.
State TV said in its Friday night report that explosions were clearly heard in Damascus.
After initially tweeting about the decision to bring back USA troops "now", Trump this week said "we will be leaving at a proper pace while at the same time continuing to fight ISIS and doing all else that is prudent and necessary!" She said Russian Federation has not seen public statements laying out the USA strategy in Syria and so can not be sure that the U.S.is serious about leaving. Russia, the Syrian government's most vital ally, would be happy to see the USA pull out entirely of the war-torn country, where it has military bases and a significant troop presence.