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US troops leaving Syria to move to Iraq, Kuwait

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By the Associated Press

A US official says the approximately 1,000 US troops being withdrawn from northern Syria will reposition in Iraq, Kuwait and possibly Jordan.

A Turkish youth celebrates with a national flag after news about Syrian town of Tal Abyad, in Turkish border town of Akcakale, in Sanliurfa province, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. Turkey's official Anadolu news agency, meanwhile, said Turkey-backed Syrian forces have advanced into the center of a Syrian border town, Tal Abyad, on the fifth day of Turkey's military offensive. (Ismail Coskun/IHA via AP/MANILA BULLETIN)

A Turkish youth celebrates with a national flag after news about Syrian town of Tal Abyad, in Turkish border town of Akcakale, in Sanliurfa province, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency, meanwhile, said Turkey-backed Syrian forces have advanced into the center of a Syrian border town, Tal Abyad, on the fifth day of Turkey’s military offensive. (Ismail Coskun/IHA via AP/MANILA BULLETIN)

The official spoke to The Associated Press on Tuesday 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.

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.

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