AFP-Jiji WASHINGTON (AFP-Jiji) — The U.S. military has removed some equipment from Syria, a defense official confirmed Thursday, following a report that the drawdown ordered by U.S. President Donald Trump is now under way.
“I can confirm the movement of equipment from Syria,” the official told AFP. “For security reasons, I am not going to provide further details at this time.”
Trump’s shock announcement on Dec. 19 that he was withdrawing all 2,000 U.S. troops from the conflict-wracked Middle Eastern country concerned allies and prompted the resignation of his then defense chief Jim Mattis.
Since then, however, administration officials appear to have walked back considerably and the current envisaged timetable is unclear.
The removal of the equipment in recent days was first reported by CNN, which quoted an administration official with direct knowledge of the operation as saying it signaled the beginning of U.S. withdrawal from the Middle Eastern country.
The official quoted by CNN would not describe exactly what the cargo was or how it was being transported.
They also did not say what part of Syria it came from, though it is expected the drawdown would begin in the country’s north.
The CNN report added that officials it had previously spoken to said the Pentagon wants to signal to the president it is working toward his goals following his withdrawal decision last month.