>> The US led coalition against Islamic State has begun the process of withdrawing from Syria. The start of a US pull out that has been clouded by mixed messages from Washington. On Friday a spokesman said the coalition "has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria. Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troop movements.".
The statement coming a day after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Cairo defended the withdrawal, insisting it was not a retreat.>> This isn't a change of mission. We're looking to our partners to do more. For our part, airstrikes in the region will continue as targets arise.
>> President Donald Trump's announcement last month that he had decided to withdraw 2,000 US troops stunned allies that have joined Washington in the battle against Islamic State in Syria. Top US officials were shocked too, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who quit in protest.
st immediately impacted may be America's Syrian Kurdish allies, who proved an effective fighting force against Islamic State militants.
But the US pull out risks leaving the Kurds at the mercy of Turkey, which views the fighters as terrorists. Ankara says it is preparing an assault in Northern Syria. Reuters foreign affairs correspondent Arshad Mohammed.>> So if you're a Syrian Kurd, and you've been an American ally in fighting against Islamic State militants, you are now terrified that with an American withdrawal, you will suddenly be vulnerable to an attack from the Turks.
That largely explains why the Syrian Kurds have gone to talk to Russia, which is one of the other global players involved in Syria, about trying to cut some kind of a deal to protect themselves. Fundamentally, when your patron suddenly disappears, you start looking for other patrons and other ways to protect yourself, and that's exactly what the Syrian Kurds are trying to do.
>> Members of Trump's own party have tried to persuade the President to proceed carefully, and not embolden America's enemies in the region. US National Security Advisor John Bolton this week suggested America's withdrawal was contingent on assurances from Turkey it would not attack. Turkey dismissed that condition, and Pompeo said that withdrawal would continue.