The coalition announces the start of its withdrawal

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HASSAKÉ | The international coalition antijihadistes led by the United States on Friday announced to start withdrawing its troops from Syria, less than a month after the surprise announcement by the us president, Donald Trump for the disengagement of its troops from that country in war.

The coalition was formed in 2014 at the initiative of Washington after the climb to power of the group jihadist islamic State (EI), and its conquest of vast territories in Syria and Iraq. Several countries, including France and Great Britain.

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It intervenes by means of the air raids against the jihadists and special forces on the ground supporting fighters in the local fight against the ir.

On the 19th of December, Mr. Trump had justified his announcement of the withdrawal of 2 000 american soldiers by claiming that the ARS had been defeated, even if the group continues to control some areas in the east of the country.

The coalition “has begun the process of withdrawal (…) from Syria,” said Friday, AFP spokesman, colonel Sean Ryan.

“For the sake of operational security, we don’t discuss timelines, locations, or movements of the troops”, he added.

Thursday evening, about 150 american soldiers withdrew from the military base of Rmeilan in the province of Hassaké”, in the is syrian, said his side the director of the syrian Observatory Human rights (OSDH), Rami Abdel Rahmane.

“This is the first withdrawal of this type of the american forces since the announcement of the american president”, he added, by reporting also the start of”a dozen armored vehicles and heavy equipment”.

An official of the department of Defense in Washington, had earlier confirmed to AFP that the equipment had been removed from Syria.

The beginning of the withdrawal coincides with a Middle East tour of the head of the american diplomacy Mike Pompeo, who has assured Thursday from Egypt that the disengagement will take place in spite of the outcry it has caused in many allies of Washington.

The u.s. government has also introduced a range of messages to attempt to erase the initial impression of a hasty departure.

On Sunday, the national security adviser of the White House, John Bolton, had linked the withdrawal to a definite defeat of the AR, but also to the obtaining of guarantees for the security of the kurdish guerrillas, who have been fighting against jihadists alongside the Americans.

The main militia of the kurdish of Syria, Units of protection of people (YPG), the backbone on the field of the fight against the ir, is, in fact, threatened by a possible offensive from Turkey, a neighboring country of Syria.

Ankara has called the YPG “terrorists” for their alleged links with the Kurdistan workers ‘ Party (PKK), which delivers a guerrilla war on the Turkish territory since 1984.

The statements of Mr. Bolton had been perceived as a coaster on the timing of the withdrawal, raising the ire of Turkey, which qualified them”unacceptable”.

A hasty departure of the United States might weaken the YPG and strengthen the AR, say the critics of the decision by Mr. Trump, including in his own camp, a republican.

Some fear that this departure could open the way to Iran, an ally of the regime of Bashar al-Assad, and enemy of Washington, to extend its influence in Syria and pose a threat to Israel.

After the proclamation of a “caliphate” de facto over vast regions which he had conquered in Syria and Iraq in 2014, the ARS has seen its territory reduced like skin of sorrow in the face of multiple attacks in these two countries.

In the east syrian, the jihadists are now cornered in a stronghold referred to by an offensive of the democratic Forces in syria (SDS), coalition arab-kurdish-dominated YPG and supported by the coalition.

The AR is also present in an area of the syrian desert which extends from the center of the country to the eastern province of Deir Ezzor. Sporadic clashes between the jihadist forces of the syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

According to analysts, the announcement of the american withdrawal has already of the consequences. “The damage is done. On the ground, the announcement of the withdrawal it is as if they were already parties,” said Fabrice Balanche, a geographer at the French University of Lyon and is an expert on Syria.

The war in Syria began in 2011 after the crackdown by the regime of protests, pro-democracy. It has become increasingly complex over the years with the involvement of groups jihadists and foreign powers. She has done more than 360,000 people dead and displaced several million people.