US withdrawal from Syria gathers speed amid accusations of betrayal

American President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of most American troops from Syria, which cleared the way for Turkey to attack Kurdish forces, has prompted Republicans and Democrats alike to accuse him of abandoning a United States ally.

Agencies
Convoy of US vehicles withdrawing from northern Syria
ANKARA: A long convoy of United States troops crossed into Iraq from Syria early Monday, accelerating a withdrawal of American forces from northern Syria that set the stage for the Turkish invasion of Kurdish-controlled land.

More than 100 American military vehicles left Syrian Kurdish territory in the early hours of the morning, according to a cameraman for the Reuters news agency who was at the border crossing.

President Trump’s withdrawal of most American troops from Syria, which cleared the way for Turkey to attack Kurdish forces, has prompted Republicans and Democrats alike to accuse him of abandoning a United States ally.


A coalition of Syrian Kurdish fighters, Americans and other foreign troops had fought the Islamic State there since 2014. Defence Secretary Mark Esper confirmed on Monday that the United States was considering keeping a small force in northeastern Syria, alongside the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, to prevent oil fields there from falling into the hands of the Islamic State.

The Times reported that Trump was leaning in favour of leaving perhaps 200 troops there. The withdrawal, which began Oct. 6, has drastically reduced American clout in Syria, ceding more control and influence to the Syrian government, Russia and Iran.

Around 1,000 American troops are being withdrawn. Though Trump has characterised the move as bringing troops home, Esper said on Sunday that most forces would be redeployed to western Iraq, where they would continue operations against the Islamic State.
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