Published: Sat, January 12, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

‘We Don’t Take Orders From Bolton’: Pentagon Plans Syria Withdrawal

‘We Don’t Take Orders From Bolton’: Pentagon Plans Syria Withdrawal

Administration officials initially said the pullout could happen in a matter of weeks, but military leaders requested six months in order to ensure an orderly withdrawal and prevent a sudden resurgence of the Islamic State militant group (ISIS).

The U.S. military command in Baghdad, which is managing the counter-IS campaign in Iraq and Syria, said Friday that it "has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria", adding that, for security reasons, it would not reveal timetables, locations or troop movements. He said the US will not discuss a specific timeline, locations or troop movements out of concern for operational security.

A convoy of ten United States military vehicles was seen leaving a base in Hasakah province in northeast Syria and heading towards the Iraqi border, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. It says about 10 armored vehicles and other equipment arrived at a US base in al-Rmelan, in al-Hasaka province.

The plans have been put in motion despite recent assurances from National Security Advisor John Bolton that US forces would remain in Syria until Turkey agreed not to attack America's Kurdish allies.

Trump's decision to withdraw all of the 2,000 U.S. troops from the war-torn country prompted shockwaves among USA senior officials and United States allies in December. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has also sought to reassure the Kurds they will be safe after the USA completely pulls out.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu went so far on Wednesday as to say that if the USA withdrawal from Syria was delayed, "then we will put this decision into practice", suggesting Turkey could go after the Kurds in short order.

Zakharova also said Russian Federation remains committed to an agreement it had struck with Turkey to stabilize a de-escalation zone in Syria's Idlib province, but Moscow is anxious by an increase in the number of ceasefire violations there.

"The Americans have a right to make decisions that are in their country's security and national interests", said Ilham Ahmed, who co-chairs the USA -backed Syrian Democratic Council in northeast Syria.

Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters on Friday that it appears to Moscow that the U.S.

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Earlier this week, Bolton's calls for the protection of the YPG Syrian Kurdish militia as a condition for a Syrian withdrawal angered Turkey.

A US official told ABC News that in recent days military equipment has been moved out of Syria into Iraq.

"When the time and place comes, the terrorists here will also be buried in the ditches and trenches they have dug", he said.

In public statements, he had repeatedly suggested that he wanted to bring American troops back home.

'We're going to be discussing the president's decision to withdraw, but to do so from northeast Syria in a way that makes sure that ISIS is defeated and is not able to revive itself and become a threat again, ' Bolton said when meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

It's complicated: On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported that USA ground troops and naval vessels are moving toward Syria to assist with the withdrawal, defying Bolton.

A senior Kurdish politician said the Kurds are aware of the USA beginning its withdraw process, describing it as "America's decision".

"We believe it is important that the territories that will be vacated after the Americans leave will come under the control of the Government of Syria", she added.

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