USA troops 'cannot stay in Iraq' after leaving Syria, military says

USA troops 'cannot stay in Iraq' after leaving Syria, military says

Trump ordered the bulk of the approximately 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria to withdraw after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made it clear in a phone call that his forces were about to invade Syria to push back Kurdish forces that Turkey considers terrorists.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told reporters en route to Afghanistan on Saturday that the roughly 1,000 United States troops left in Syria will be "repositioned" into western Iraq, which runs along the Syrian border.

So as CBS News Holly Williams reports, the stakes were high on Tuesday as Erdogan met President Vladimir Putin in Russian Federation.

Angry Kurds have blocked US troops in the streets as they cross from Syria into Iraq after Washington pulled the plug on their support.

He said that was one option and no decision had been made "with regard to numbers or anything like that".

Esper's comments to reporters travelling with him were the first to specifically lay out where American troops will go as they shift from Syria and what the counter-IS fight could look like.

Reuters video images showed armored vehicles carrying troops into Iraq, part of the United States withdrawal from Syria. The loss of those oil fields denied ISIS a major source of revenue, a one-time source of funds that has differentiated the organization from other terror groups. Esper said the troops would help defend Iraq and could still conduct antiterrorist raids in Syria on Islamic State insurgents.

His decision has been criticised in Washington and elsewhere as a betrayal of Kurdish allies who had fought for years alongside American troops in a region rich in oil reserves and farmland.

While the US has begun what the Pentagon calls a deliberate withdrawal of troops from Syria, Trump himself has said that the 200 to 300 USA service members deployed to a southern Syria outpost in Al-Tanf will remain there.

Turkey wants to create a 32-kilometer (20 mile) deep "safe zone" along a 420-kilometer stretch of its border to remove what it says are Kurdish "terrorists" and relocate Arab Syrian refugees into area.

Germany's defense minister has proposed the establishment of an internationally controlled security zone in Syria.

"We will take up this process with Mr. Putin and after that we will take the necessary steps", Mr. Erdogan told a forum in Istanbul hosted by broadcaster TRT World, without elaborating further.

In a separate video posted to Twitter by Harvey, a local can be seen throwing what appears to be a stone at a U.S. military vehicle.

"The issues should be resolved by diplomatic means".

He said he did not want to leave any American troops in Syria, however USA forces leaving the country now would be deployed elsewhere before eventually returning to the United States.

Why are the USA troops in Syria going to Iraq?

Turkey on October 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate the YPG from northern Syria and secure Turkey's borders.

On October 21, video footage showed residents of a Kurdish-dominated Syrian city throwing food, including potatoes, at departing USA military vehicles as they drove past a crowd.

According to a White House pool report, Trump said of America's allies in Syria, "We never agreed to protect the Kurds for the rest of their lives".

Redur Khalil, a senior SDF official, also said that following the evacuation of the remaining civilians and fighters from Ras al-Ayn, his fighters would pull back from the strip of land between the town and Tel Abyad, which is also under Turkish attack.

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