US completes troop withdrawal from Syrian provinces of Aleppo, Raqqa: Report
Iran Press TV
Mon Oct 21, 2019 02:37AM
US troops have completely withdrawn from the northern Syrian provinces of Aleppo and Raqqa, according to a report.
Informed sources speaking to the Lebanese al-Mayadeen television channel on Sunday confirmed the completion of the US withdrawal from the provinces, adding that a convoy of 60 military vehicles had left the Sarrin airfield, which lies northeast of the provincial capital of Aleppo.
Al-Mayadeen also reported that American forces had "set fire" to their documents before withdrawing from their base in Ayn al-Arab, also known as Kobani, situated in the Aleppo province near the Turkish border.
The report added that American troops, accompanied by two overflying helicopters, had entered the al-Hawl refugee camp in the northeastern Hasakah province.
The report did not specify why American troops were present at the camp. The camp is known to lodge family members of Daesh Takfiri terrorist fighters.
Other media sources reported that American forces transferred detained Deash forces from the al-Hawl camp towards Iraq.
Al-Mayadeen also reported on Sunday the withdrawal of French troops from a base north of the Hasakah province. The forces had been stationed in the region alongside US and Kurdish forces to allegedly fight Daesh.
The recent developments come after US President Donald Trump abruptly announced the withdrawal of US troops from northeastern Syria earlier this month.
The withdrawal effectively granted Ankara a greenlight to carry out a long-planned invasion of northern Syria targeting US-allied Kurdish forces in the region.
Abandoned by Washington, Kurdish forces struck a deal with Damascus last week, leading to the deployment of Syrian troops north of the country in a bid to counter the Turkish invasion.
On Sunday, Syrian state TV broadcast images showing Syrian troops deploying in the Raqqa province.
On Thursday, Ankara agreed to pause its incursion into Syria for 120 hours while the US facilitates the withdrawal of Kurdish militants from a 20-mile safe zone along the Syrian-Turkish border.
Clashes between Turkish troops and Kurdish fighters have been reported despite the agreement. Certain aspects of the deal remain contested between different parties of the deal.
NATO task force to examine Turkish operation
Germany's Welt am Sonntag newspaper has reported that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has formed a specialized task force -- comprised of intelligence, military and political experts -- in a bid to examine the conduct of Ankara, a NATO member, in northern Syria.
The decision was made following a two-hour meeting last Wednesday, the paper reported.
During the meeting, Turkey pledged to inform NATO of its troop deployments and any related civilian displacements and casualties.
Since Turkey launched its invasion of northeastern Syria earlier this month, more than 300,000 Syrians have been displaced according to figures released by the United Nations.
Many humanitarian organizations have also expressed concern regarding potential humanitarian costs of the conflict.
Last week, Amnesty International accused Turkey of committing "serious" war crimes, including "summary killings" and "indiscriminate" attacks showing a "shameful disregard for civilian life".
The UN has called on Turkey to investigate the allegations.
UN chemical weapons inspectors have also said that they are investigating possible use of internationally banned white phosphorus munitions by Turkish forces.
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