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American forces begin to withdraw from Syrian areas
January 12, 2019
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Hasakeh: The US-led coalition in Syria has begun withdrawing its troops, a spokesman said on Friday, less than a month after US President Donald Trump announced the shock pullout.

It remained unclear how long it would take Washington to withdraw its forces, which have led the battle against the Daesh group since 2014. “CJTF-OIR has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria,” spokesman Colonel Sean Ryan told AFP in a statement, referring to the US-led anti-militant force.

“Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troops movements,” he said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the coalition had started scaling down its presence at Rmeilan airfield in the Hasakeh province of northeastern Syria.

“On Thursday, some American forces withdrew from the Rmeilan military base,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Britain-based monitoring organisation. He said some 150 US troops, around 10 armoured vehicles and some heavy equipment had left the base.

“This is the first such pullout of American forces since the US president’s announcement” last month, he said.

The US-led coalition has several other bases across northeastern Syria, as well as in neighbouring Iraq, where Trump has said American forces will remain.

A US defence official in Washington had earlier confirmed to AFP that equipment was being removed from Syria. The US-led coalition, which also includes countries such as France and Britain, was formed in mid-2014 to counter Daesh, which had seized swathes of Iraq and Syria.

Agence France-Presse

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