The withdrawal began with shipments of military equipment, US defense officials said. Once the troops are gone, the US will have ended three years of organizing, arming, advising and providing air cover for Syrian, Kurdish and Arab fighters in an open-ended campaign devised by the Obama administration to deal the [ISIS] group a lasting defeat.
The US-led military coalition in Syria has begun pulling out troops, a spokesman said on Friday without elaborating on locations or timetables.
Col. Sean Ryan, spokesman for the US-led coalition said in a statement Friday that the coalition "has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria", but did not provide additional details. He said the US will not discuss a specific timeline, locations or troop movements out of concern for operational security.
Ankara has been infuriated by the US support for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by the YPG under the pretext of fighting against Daesh.
Turkey's defense minister on Friday pledged to wage a campaign against a US -backed Syrian Kurdish militia, sharpening focus on a potential conflict the United States has sought to prevent. This, she said, includes putting an end to the Turkish threats and fully eradicating the Islamic State group and its sleeper cells. But in coming weeks, the contingent of about 2,000 troops is expected to depart even as the White House vows to keep pressure on the Islamic State group. Trump's abrupt decision in December to pull them out, declaring in a tweet the defeat of IS, sent shockwaves across the region and a flurry of criticism from some of his generals and national security advisers, and led to the resignation of U.S. Defense Minister James Mattis and the top U.S. envoy to the anti-IS coalition.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also addressed the issue in a speech in Cairo on Thursday.
"These have been folks that have fought with us and it's important that we do everything we can to ensure that those folks that fought with us are protected", Pompeo said of the Kurds while visiting Irbil, the capital of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, after talks in Baghdad.More news: CES: Sex-toy firm revoked for hands-free device slam 'sexist' awards
Kurdish officials, meanwhile, have demanded clarifications from the US over its intentions.
On the one hand, Turkey aims to pursue a campaign against Kurdish forces that have allied with the United States, and on the other the Russia- and Iran-backed Syrian regime sees the chance to recover a huge chunk of territory.
Maria Zakharova, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said it was important for Syrian Kurds and the Syrian government to start talking to each other in light of the U.S. withdrawal plans.
The People's Protection Units (YPG), a Syrian offshoot of the PKK group which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, has already started cosying up to Damascus and its Russian sponsor.
Though Mr Trump has said he wants a withdrawal to be coordinated, gradual and "prudent", observers have stressed that his announcement was having the same impact as a withdrawal itself.
Pompeo arrived in Abu Dhabi on Friday as part of his regional tour aimed at reassuring Washington's Middle Eastern allies of its continued commitment to the complete dismantlement of Daesh a href="https://sputniknews.com/us/201812191070826973-us-military-syria/" *withdraw some 2,000 U.S. troops now deployed in the Middle Eastern country.