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US troops leaving Syria will go to Iraq, Pentagon chief says



  US military vehicles drive on the street in the city of Tal Tamr on October 20, 2019 after being withdrawn from their base Copyright
AFP

Caption images

Military vehicles of The US has been seen leaving their bases in northeast Syria

All US troops withdrawing from northern Syria are expected to be relocated to Western Iraq, confirmed Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.

Mr Esper told reporters that under current plans, about 1

,000 soldiers would be redeployed to help stop the resumption. of the Islamic State (IS).

President Donald Trump has previously promised to bring US troops back home.

The US withdrawal from northern Syria paved the way for a Turkish military offensive against Kurdish fighters.

Both sides have accused the other of violating US-

Ankara views one of the known Kurdish militias as terrorists and wants to create a "safe zone" buffer in Syria.

On Sunday, Turkey stated that one of its soldiers was killed and another wounded. in a Kurdish attack near the Syrian city of Tal Abad.

In a separate development, reports say that a convoy of ambulances and pickup trucks carrying Kurdish soldiers left the besieged city of Ras al-Ain on Sunday, and that the Turkish forces were already there

Kurdish forces had earlier accused Turkey of prevents people from being evacuated from the border town.

Copyright
Getty Images

Caption Images

Hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes since the onset of Turkey

Meanwhile, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a bipartisan group of US lawmakers have arrived in Jordan for talks with King Abdullah.

Ms. Pelosi, along with senior American politicians, sharply criticized President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw his troops from northern Syria.

"With the deepening crisis in Syria since the invasion of Turkey, our delegation has been engaged in vital discussions on the impact on regional stability, increased refugee flows and the dangerous opening provided to Isis (IS), Iran and Russia," she said in

What about US troops?

On a flight to the region, Mr. Esper stated that US forces would be used to "assist in the defense of Iraq" and to combat the IS's attempt to

"The withdrawal of the United States continues from northeast Sir Oia … we talk for weeks, not days, "he said.

" The current game plan is to restore these forces – a position in Western Iraq. "

A senior U.S. lawmaker officially warned that plans could change," but that's the game plan at the moment. "

In a tweet, later deleted, President Trump quotes Mr. Esper – whom he cited Mark Esperanto as saying that ceasefire "holds up very well."

Copyright
David Walker

What about ceasefire?

Turkey agreed to stop Thursday their advance by Tuesday evening, giving time to Kurdish fighters to withdraw from the border.

On Sunday then The Russian Ministry of Defense stated that one soldier was killed and another wounded by anti-tank and small arms near Tal Abyad.

It said that Turkish forces were returning fire to self-defense.

Earlier, the Turkish Ministry of the defense accused the Kurdish forces of carrying out 14 "provocative" attacks in the last 36 hours, mainly in Ras al-Ain, but insisted that the Turkish forces fully comply with the agreement.

However, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) accused Turkey of disrupting the fire and failed to create a safe corridor for the evacuation of civilians and injured people from Ras al-Ain. [19659036] Media playback is not supported on your device

Media caption BBC Patience Martin Explains What's Behind the Conflict

On Sunday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Observation (SOHR) from the UK said ambulances were transporting injured civilians and fighters were allowed to leave.

An AFP news agency reporter at the scene claimed that the hospital had been engulfed in flames shortly after at least 50 vehicles, including ambulances, had left it.

A dozen Kurdish fighters left on pickup trucks passing through checkpoints outfitted by pro-Syrian rebel fighters, a reporter reported.

A pro-Turkish commander near the hospital stated that he understood that he had been completely withdrawn from SDF fighters and wounded. will be held "in several waves" – but this has not been formally confirmed by SDF.

Syrian state media later reported that the Protur forces had invaded the city.

"The Turkish regime and its mercenaries are now occupying the city," read the caption.

Media playback is not supported on your device

Media caption President Trump for Turkish and Kurdish forces: " Sometimes you have to let them fight for a little while. "

The military break follows talks in Turkish capital Ankara between Turkish President Recep Erdogan and US Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday.

But Mr Erdogan has a war of words for Kurdish fighters, speaking on television an event in the central Turkish province of Kayseri on Saturday, he said that if they did not withdraw by Tuesday evening, "we will start where we left off and continue to crush the heads of terrorists."

Mr Erdogan is to hold Negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week On Saturday, he said that if those negotiations do not lead to a solution, Turkey will "carry out its own plans."

It is reported that between 160,000 and 300,000 people have left from their homes after the offensive started 10 days ago.

SOHR said on Friday that civilian deaths from the Turkish operation rose to 86.

What triggered the attack?

Turkish forces first launched the attack on October 9, following reports that US troops would withdraw from the Syria-Turkey border. region.

The Turkish plan is to clear Kurdish fighters from a buffer zone extending more than 30 km (20 miles) in Syria. It will continue about 440 km along the border, President Erdogan said on Friday and will be monitored by observation posts.

Turkey also plans to move up to 2 million Syrian refugees currently on its territory to the buffer zone, but critics warned the move could trigger ethnic cleansing of the local Kurdish population.

The aim is to oust the Kurdish militia group – the Human Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey views as a terrorist organization.

Since the offensive was launched, President Trump has been accused by some, including senior Republicans, of leaving the US ally. The SDF, a YPG-dominated group, is fighting with the United States against the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria.


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