The US military has started moving non-essential gear out of Syria but is not withdrawing troops for now, AFP reported defence officials as saying amid a growing doubt over America's planned pull out from the war-ravaged Middle Eastern country.
President Trump in December had ordered bringing back all American troops serving in Syria after claiming Isis was defeated there. But Trump's national security advisor John Bolton on Sunday January 6th announced conditions for a withdrawal that appeared to delay it indefinitely.
Bolton's conditions for a withdrawal included the defeat of IS in Syria, and guarantees for the safety of Washington's Kurdish allies, who have been threatened with an imminent offensive by Turkey.
Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. Sean Robertson, for his part, said withdrawal "is based on operational conditions on the ground, including conversation with our allies and partners, and is not be subject to an arbitrary timeline."
“For purposes of operational security, we will not discuss specific troop movements or timelines,” Robertson said, adding to the uncertainty over the pull-out.
“However, we will confirm that there has been no redeployment of military personnel from Syria to date. The mission has not changed,” he added.
According to AFP, other US defence officials said the withdrawal was only of certain types of gear, and not troops. A second US defence official said that the military had conducted a number of preparations for a deliberate withdrawal.