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US Forces Conduct Patrol on Syria-Turkey Border for First Time Since Decision to Withdraw - Reports

Sputnik News

12:51 31.10.2019(updated 13:41 31.10.2019)

Earlier in October, US President Donald Trump said that American troops had begun pulling out from northern Syria. US Defence Secretary Mark Esper later said that Washington would withdraw another 1,000 troops from Syria.

US forces have conducted a patrol on the Turkish-Syrian border for the first time since Trump's decision to withdraw servicemen from the country, reports say.

Five armoured vehicles with US flags reportedly patrolled an area of the frontier north of the town of Qahtaniyah, where they used to operate before Washington declared its pullout.

The New York Times earlier reported that, as of this week, at least 500 of the original 1,000 servicemen in Syria have left, and the withdrawal will continue until roughly 250 troops are left, largely deployed to Syria's Deir ez-Zor Province. In addition, mechanised troops are soon expected to join the initial group, bringing the total number of troops guarding oil fields in the country to about 500.

On 9 October, Turkey started Operation Peace Spring in northeastern Syria to clear the area of Kurdish units and the Daesh* terrorist group. The United States and Turkey came to an agreement on 17 October for a 120-hour ceasefire in the area to allow the withdrawal of the Kurdish fighters.

As the five-day ceasefire came to an end, Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin reached a deal to pull the Kurdish fighters back and establish joint patrols in the operation zone along the Turkish border.

The international community has largely decried the Turkish incursion, arguing it could worsen the humanitarian situation in the region and hamper efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis.

Prior to the Turkish operation, Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria.

*Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist group banned in Russia


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