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Confusion reigns as Trump authorizes troop withdrawal from Turkish-Syrian border towns

US President Donald Trump's announcement catches Pentagon, State Department and Syrian Kurds off guard as Turkey assumes a primacy of sorts in the president's thinking despite the S-400 fiasco.
A Turkish soldier walks next to a Turkish military vehicle during a joint U.S.-Turkey patrol, near Tel Abyad, Syria September 8, 2019. REUTERS/Rodi Said - RC1CFC59FD70

US forces began withdrawing today from two Kurdish-controlled towns in northern Syria to make way for the entry of Turkish troops in what the Kurds are calling “a historic betrayal” by the United States, but rather seems like just more confusion enveloping the Donald Trump administration’s Syria policy.

“US forces are vacating their positions in Tell Abyad and Ras al-Ain,” a senior official for the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. He called the move “utterly unexpected” and said it was not in keeping with US pledges to keep Turkish troops out of the Kurds' self-administered zone. “If Turkey invades, the Kurds will fight back,” the SDF official vowed.

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