U.S. starts pulling troops out of Syria, talks with Turkey to continue

US pullout from Syria begins amid confusion over Pentagon timetable

US official says troop withdrawal from Syria has started

On Thursday, Turkey's foreign minister said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had already made the decision to launch an offensive against the Kurds in northern Syria, and that it would go ahead regardless of the presence of American forces. Erdogan also canceled a meeting with Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton.

"This is the first such pullout of American forces" since the US President Donald Trump announced that American forces would leave Syria, Rahman said.

He added Turkey will not seek permission from anyone on its fight against terrorist organizations.

"Russia, Iran and Syria have been the biggest beneficiaries of the long term USA policy of destroying ISIS in Syria - natural enemies", Trump continued.

Residents near border-crossing points typically used by US forces moving in and out of Syria from Iraq told Reuters they had seen no obvious or large-scale movements following Friday's announcement.

The United States military on Friday began moving non-essential gear out of Syria, but will not withdraw troops immediately, AFP reported, citing American defense officials.

The coalition "has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria".

The U.S. -led coalition against Islamic State has begun the process of withdrawing from Syria, a spokesman said on Friday, indicating the start of a U.S. pullout that has been clouded by mixed messages from Washington.

Uncertainty over the timing and terms of the Syria pullout have raised questions about the Trump administration's broader strategy for fighting Islamic extremism, including Trump's stated intention to reduce USA forces in Afghanistan this summer.

Turkey had rejected the US claim that the Syrian Kurds were represented by the YPG, which Ankara sees as a terrorist organization.

Despite Turkey's vows to the contrary, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Saturday he was confident the two nations can agree on a way to protect U.S. -allied Kurdish rebels in Syria after American troops withdraw from the country. "We don't take orders from Bolton".

Adding to the confusion, a military spokesman said Friday the USA had already begun "the process of our deliberate withdrawal" from Syria.

Russia, which has deployed forces into Syria in support of the Damascus regime, said it had the impression that the United States wanted to stay despite the announced withdrawal of USA troops, RIA news agency reported.

But, he added, "we also know that those who are fighting alongside us for all this time deserve to be protected as well".

Following the announcement, he was forced to reiterate the U.S.'s commitment to its more substantial troop to neighboring Iraq, where the US -led coalition is also fighting ISIS. "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.

There are 2,000 US troops in Syria and while the military has orders to follow the president's decision to withdraw, they have no timelines attached for how long it will take.

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