A U.S. military official said Friday that the process of withdrawing United States troops from Syria has begun. “Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations, or troop movements,” Colonel Sean Ryan said in an emailed statement.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human rights monitors the conflict in Syria. It said a convoy of about 10 armored vehicles and some trucks began pulling out from a town in Syria’s northeastern region on Thursday night. The caravan reportedly crossed into Iraq.
Response in the region has been one of diplomacy but concern. Ilham Ahmed co-chairs the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Council in northeast Syria. She says, “The Americans have a right to make decisions that are in their country’s security and national interests.” But in the fight against ISIS—the militant Islamist group that the United Nations calls terrorists and not a legitimate government or revolutionary movement—Ahmed added caution. Putting an end to terrorist cells in the Middle East is imperative to peace and stability not only for the region but for the future of Western nations as well, she claims.
There are 2,000 American troops in Syria. In December, President Trump announced his decision to pull them out. Some thought the announcement seemed abrupt and questioned the President’s plan. The President responded in a tweet, saying, “We will be leaving at a proper pace while at the same time continuing to fight ISIS and doing all else that is prudent and necessary!”
A group called the Kurds is caught in the middle. Kurdish-led fighters were already involved in battles against the Islamic State when the United States got involved in the conflict in 2014. America has provided support to the Kurds since that time. A U.S. troop pullout leaves the Kurds exposed to attacks from Turkey on one side and the Syrian government on the other, while the nation continues in civil war.
(A U.S. convoy drives along a road leading to the front line with Turkish-backed fighters in northern Syria. AP Photo)