US troops withdraw from first base in Syria

Turkish media says the US Army troops have abandoned a base in north-eastern Syria, in the first reported case of the Donald Trump-announced general pullout going ahead.

Some 50 US soldiers left in Hummer armored vehicles and military trucks, leaving behind an empty 400-square-meter warehouse in the Al-Hasakah Governorate, the Anadolu news agency said Saturday. The troops went to the neighboring Iraq, the report said, adding that previously the warehouse was used for supplying weapons and equipment to Kurdish YPG militias.

US President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw troops from Syria on December 19, which he said were no longer needed there after the “defeat” of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists. At the time there were about 2,000 American troops spread throughout Kurdish-controlled parts of northeastern Syria. According to varying US statements, the withdrawal is to take between two and three months.