Syria: Washington-led coalition says its military withdrawal has begun

The international anti-jihadist coalition led by the United States announced Friday the beginning of withdrawal of its troops from Syria, without further details.

The coalition "has begun the process of withdrawal (...) from Syria," told AFP Colonel Sean Ryan, spokesman for the coalition.

"For the sake of operational security, we will not discuss deadlines, locations or movements of troops," said the spokesman.

The announcement came less than a month after US President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of some 2,000 US troops from Syria.

The international anti-jihadist coalition was created in 2014, after the meteoric rise of the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria and its conquest of large parts of the Syrian and Iraqi territories.

Several countries participate, including France and Great Britain. But it was not clear in the immediate term if the withdrawal also includes French and British troops deployed on the ground.

"President Trump has made the decision to withdraw our troops, we will do," said the head of diplomacy Mike Pompeo on Thursday, however refraining from mentioning a timetable.

According to the director of the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (OSDH), Rami Abdel Rahman, "US forces withdrew Thursday evening from the Rmeilan military base in the province of Hasake", in the east of the country .

The Observatory reported the withdrawal of "a dozen armored vehicles and heavy equipment".

After self-proclaiming in 2014 a "caliphate" straddling Syria and Iraq, the IS suffered a series of military setbacks.

The group still retains some pockets and dormant cells in the "badiya" (desert), especially in eastern Syria, where the coalition continues the fight with ground support Syrian Democratic Forces (FDS) dominated by fighters Kurdish.

The war in Syria broke out in 2011 after the regime's suppression of pro-democracy protests. It has become more complex over the years with the involvement of jihadist groups and foreign powers. She made more than 360,000 deaths.

Source: Seychelles News Agency

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