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US forces leave Manbij, as Syrian forces move in

A US official says the approximately 1,000 US troops being withdrawn from northern Syria will reposition in Iraq, Kuwait and possibly Jordan.

The official spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive planning for a US pullout amid heavy fighting between Turkish and Syrian Kurdish forces.

The official says the American troops have pulled out of the Manbij area, where US outposts were set up in 2017. Troops are consolidating their positions to prepare to fly out of the country soon.

Turkish soldiers and Turkey-backed Syrian fighters gather on the northern outskirts of the Syrian city of Manbij near the Turkish border on October 14, 2019, as Turkey and its allies continue their assault on Kurdish-held border towns in northeastern Syria. (Zein Al RIFAI / AFP)

The official says US troops based in Iraq could conduct cross-border operations against the Islamic State group in Syria as they did before creating the now-abandoned partnership with Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.

The White House announced a week ago that US forces in northeast Syria would move aside and clear the way for an expected Turkish assault, essentially abandoning the Kurds who fought alongside American forces against Islamic State militants.

— AP

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