Currents News Staff
Hundreds of trucks are on the move as U.S. personnel gather near Hasakah, Syria in route east to the border with Iraq.
The troop withdrawal will take weeks, but the largest ground move of U.S. troops in Syria marks the symbolic end of the major U.S. presence in the region.
Aboard a U.S. military aircraft before landing in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said most of the troops are being deployed to two missions: to help defend Iraq and to perform a counter ISIS mission.
“I think overall, the ceasefire generally seems to be holding. We see a stabilization of the lines, if you will, on the ground, and we do get reports of intermittent fires, this and that. It doesn’t surprise me necessarily, but that’s what we’re that’s we’re picking up as we’re seeing so far,” said Esper.
New York Senator and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer took shots at the withdrawal on October 20, saying “it was clear to me from our meeting at the White House Wednesday that first, the military are extremely upset with what the president did – we heard a little bit about that from General Mattis at the Al Smith Dinner and I talked to him at great length about it – but that second, we don’t have a real plan. This was done on a whim and done precipitously and it’s damaging.”
The Syrian Defense Force press office has said attacks from the Turkish military and Turkish back militants in a 24-hour period resulted in “16 martyrs and three wounded in our ranks.
Turkish forces and their allies continue to launch attacks on Syrian villages despite agreeing to a ceasefire, according to the statement.