U.S. Troops Withdrawing from Syria Are Headed to Iraq to Fight ISIS

An American military convoy stops near the town of Tel Tamr, north Syria, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. (Baderkhan Ahmad/AP)

All US troops withdrawing from northern Syria are expected to be relocated to western Iraq, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper confirmed.

Mr Esper told reporters that, under current plans, about 1,000 soldiers would be redeployed to help stop the resurgence of Islamic State (IS).

President Donald Trump has previously pledged to bring US troops home.

Meanwhile, a Kurdish-led force said it had withdrawn all its fighters from the besieged Syrian town of Ras al-Ain.

Correspondents said it appeared to be the start of a wider withdrawal under a US-brokered temporary ceasefire agreement between Turkey and Kurdish fighters.

President Trump’s announcement of a US withdrawal from northern Syria paved the way for a Turkish military offensive against Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria.

Ankara views one of the prominent militias in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as terrorists, and wants to create a “safe zone” buffer inside Syria.

Under the temporary ceasefire the SDF has agreed to withdraw from an area of about 120km (70 miles) stretching from Tal Abyad to Ras al-Ain, although Turkey wants to ultimately control a much larger area.

The SDF had earlier accused Turkey of not allowing its fighters and wounded civilians to leave Ras al-Ain.

Both sides have accused each other of breaching the truce. On Sunday Turkey said one of its soldiers was killed and another wounded in a Kurdish attack near the Syrian town of Tal Abyad.

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