US Begins Troop Withdrawal From Syria


11 January, 2019

The U.S.-led coalition in Syria is beginning to withdraw troops from the country.

A spokesman for the coalition said it "has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria." The spokesman added that, to protect security, the coalition would not provide details on troop movements.

There are about 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports that the withdrawal began late Thursday. It says about 10 armored vehicles and other equipment arrived at a U.S. base in al-Rmelan, in al-Hasaka province. The group also reports that coalition reinforcements arrived at different bases Thursday. A source confirmed that information with VOA.

U.S. national security advisor John Bolton said Friday that talks between U.S. and Turkish military officials will continue next week. The two sides are trying to reach agreement about Kurdish fighters allied with the United States against Islamic State forces in Syria.

FILE - A convoy of US military vehicles is seen in Syria's northern city of Manbij, Dec. 30, 2018.
FILE - A convoy of US military vehicles is seen in Syria's northern city of Manbij, Dec. 30, 2018.

Earlier this week, Bolton's calls for the protection of the YPG Syrian Kurdish militia as a condition for a Syrian withdrawal angered Turkey. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan then canceled a planned meeting with Bolton.

The YPG is an important ally in the U.S. war against the Islamic State. Turkey, however, considers the YPG a terrorist group linked to a rebellion in Turkey.

In his comments, Bolton had said that he, President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held the understanding that Turkey had agreed "not to harm the Kurds who had fought with us against ISIS."

But Bolton also said the United States was still seeking some guarantees of that agreement through "protocols and procedures."

Erdogan also warned that preparations were complete for a military operation against the YPG.

"We will very soon mobilize to eliminate the terrorist organization in Syria," Erdogan said.

He added, "If there are other terrorists who would attempt to intervene in our intervention, then it is our duty to eliminate them as well."

Turkish forces have been deploying for weeks along the Syrian border.

I'm Caty Weaver.

VOA News reported this story. Caty Weaver adapted it for Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

__________________________________________________________

Words in This Story

deliberate -v. done or said in a way that is planned or intended : done or said on purpose

reinforcements -n. people and supplies that are sent to help or support an army, military force, etc.

source -n. a person, book, etc., that gives information

protocol -n. a system of rules that explain the correct conduct and procedures to be followed in formal situations

procedure -n. a series of actions that are done in a certain way or order : an established or accepted way of doing something

mobilize -v. to make (soldiers, an army, etc.) ready for war

eliminate -v. to remove (something that is not wanted or needed)