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Coalition says US troop withdrawal from Syria has begun

A U.S. Soldier provides security during a coordinated, independent patrol along the demarcation line near a village outside Manbij, Syria, June 26, 2018. The U.S. recently started conducting these patrols with Turkish Military Forces, patrolling on opposite sides of the demarcation line. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy R. Koster)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

A U.S. military spokesman says the U.S.-led military coalition in Syria has begun the process of withdrawing troops from the country.

The spokesman, Colonel Sean Ryan, said in a January 11 statement that “the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria” had begun, however he did not reveal specific details.

“Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troops movements,” Ryan said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the U.S.-led coalition had started scaling down its presence at the Rmeilan airfield in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakeh.

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It said the U.S. troops began to withdraw from the military base on January 10, describing the development as “the first such pullout of American forces” since President Donald Trump announced on December 19 that he intended to withdraw all of an estimated 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria.

Trump’s announcement, which came after a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, stunned U.S. allies and has been criticized within his own administration.