The Latest: Russia says US ‘not serious’ on Syria withdrawal
BAGHDAD (AP) — The Latest on Syria and U.S. military pullout (all times local):
Russia’s Foreign Ministry says the Americans are not serious about withdrawing from Syria.
Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters on Friday that it appears to Moscow that the U.S. “is looking for a reason to stay.”
Zakharova said Moscow has not seen public statements laying out the U.S. strategy in Syria and so cannot be sure that the U.S. is serious about leaving.
Zakharova’s remarks appeared shortly after an American official said that the U.S.-led military coalition has begun the process of withdrawing troops from Syria.
An American military official says the U.S.-led military coalition has begun the process of withdrawing troops from Syria.
Col. Sean Ryan, spokesman for the U.S.-coalition fighting the Islamic State group, says the U.S. started “the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria.”
In a statement emailed to The Associated Press on Friday, he declined to discuss specific timelines or locations or troops movements out of concern for operational security.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict in Syria through a network of activists on the ground, said the withdrawal began Thursday night. It said a convoy of about 10 armored vehicles, in addition to some trucks, pulled out from Syria’s northeastern town of Rmeilan into Iraq.
The U.S. has around 2,000 troops in Syria.