US begins troop withdrawal from Syria (video)
Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Monday that US forces were beginning to withdraw from the border area with Turkey.
ANHA Arabia posted a video, showing the withdrawal of US forces from their observation points in the city of Tell Abyad town in Raqqa, and Ras al-Ain city in Hasaka province.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also confirmed that the withdrawal had begun, saying on Monday morning that a Turkish military offensive in the area could begin at any moment. "We can come any night without warning," he told reporters.
Regarding the claims about 10,000 ISIS terrorists in the area, Erdogan said the number is "exaggerated" by the media.
"The number ISIS prisoners has been a bit exaggerated. The US is working to decide how to handle them," he said.
The White House had announced the withdrawal on Sunday night, saying that they would not "support or be involved" with planned Turkish military operations in the area.
"Despite our efforts to avoid any military escalation with Turkey, the US forces have not fulfilled their obligations and withdrew their forces from the border areas with Turkey," the SDF said in a statement.
"Turkey is now preparing an invasion of northern and eastern Syria."
The news comes following announcement that Turkey will launch a military offensive in northeastern Syria. Turkish news agency DHA reported on Sunday that Turkish tanks and troops were already heading to the Turkish southeastern border area of Akcakale.
In response to the news, the United Nations regional humanitarian coordinator for Syria Panos Moumtzis said "We don't know what is going to happen," clarifying that the US had not notified the UN of the decision to withdraw in advance.
"We are preparing for the worst," said Moumtzis, adding that the UN already had a contingency plan in place to protect civilians in the area.