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That the process of withdrawing from Syria involves driving into Iraq, and the U.S. troops are all on the side of Syria closest to the Iraq border, it once again raises questions of why the pullout is expected to take months, instead of the few hours such a trip would take.

They have also argued that it would further allow Damascus ally Iran to extend its influence across Syria and potentially threaten Israel.

The Gulf emirate is his latest stop in a regional tour aimed at reassuring allies after a Trump's shock announcement in December that United States troops would be withdrawn from Syria.

Earlier this week, however, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said the U.S. would expect guarantees that the Kurds would be protected after American troops leave the area.

"What we're still pursuing in these military to military conversations are assurances and protocols and procedures so that everybody feels comfortable with how this is going to happen".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan labelled Mr Bolton's comments unacceptable and a "grave mistake".

"Before us we have Manbij on one side and the east of the Euphrates on the other", Akar said, underscoring the scale of a potential operation.

How Duchess Catherine celebrated her 37th birthday
They celebrated with the Middleton family at their home (and William even spent the night !). Prince William also praised the children, who are brother and sister, for their handwriting.

The U.S. and Turkey have been allies for more than six decades, but in recent years their relationship has been repeatedly strained by disputes.

Pompeo said Friday that Washington recognized "the Turkish people's right and Erdogan's right to defend their country from terrorists".

Russia, which has deployed forces into Syria in support of the Damascus regime, said it had the impression that the United States wanted to stay despite the announced withdrawal of USA troops, RIA news agency reported. A USA troop pullout leaves the Kurds exposed to Turkish attacks from one side, and Syrian government troops on the other. "After all, the Kurds are an integral part of Syrian society", said Zakharova.

On an unannounced visit to troops stationed near the Syrian border Friday morning, Turkey's defense minister Hulusi Akar reiterated Ankara is "determined" to fight Kurdish militias it considers terrorists and said military preparations were ongoing.

In a statement, Col. Ryan said the USA -led coalition "has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria".

"President Macron spoke to him (Trump) several times and it seems that there has been a change that I think is positive", he said in a television interview on Thursday.

The Pentagon stressed it would not telegraph its troop movements or give timelines for when they may leave Syria.


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