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U.S. has begun withdrawing troops from Syria

US troops in Syria
(AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

BAGHDAD (AP) – An American military official says the U.S.-led military coalition has begun the process of withdrawing troops from Syria.

Col. Sean Ryan, spokesman for the U.S.-coalition fighting the Islamic State group, says the U.S. started “the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria.”

In a statement emailed to The Associated Press on Friday, he declined to discuss specific timelines or locations or troops movements out of concern for operational security.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict in Syria through a network of activists on the ground, said the withdrawal began Thursday night. It said a convoy of about 10 armored vehicles, in addition to some trucks, pulled out from Syria’s northeastern town of Rmeilan into Iraq.

The U.S. has around 2,000 troops in Syria.

Ilham Ahmed, a senior Kurdish politician, said the Americans have a right to make decisions that are in their country’s security and national interests.

However, she adds that safeguarding the peace and stability of the areas they withdraw from “must be guaranteed.” This includes putting an end to Turkish threats and fully eradicating the Islamic State group and its sleeper cells, she said.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Associated Press

Associated Press

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