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US Troops In Syria To Be Relocated To Iraq

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Defense Secretary Mark Esper confirmed that the hundreds of U.S. troops leaving northern Syria are being redeployed to Iraq to fight Islamic State terrorists in that country.

Esper disclosed this to the media on a flight en route to the Middle East at the weekend.

"The US withdrawal continues apace from north-eastern Syria... we're talking weeks, not days," he told reporters.

"The current game plan is for those forces to re-position into western Iraq" to "help defend Iraq" and continue operations against the Islamic State, he added.

Esper said about one thousand U.S. soldiers are leaving Syria.

A convoy of trucks carrying nearly 500 U.S. personnel are moving east to the border with Iraq, CNN reported quoting a U.S. official.

It marks the symbolic end of the major U.S. military presence in northern Syria.

The U.S. troops are withdrawing from the war-ravaged Syrian region as a temporary ceasefire that Turkey agreed to in its military offensive targeting Kurdish troops in Northeast Syria partly holds.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after meeting with U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence last week, agreed to pause all fighting, code-named "Operation Peace Spring", to allow for the withdrawal of the fighters of the Kurdish YPG from the safe zone for 120 hours.

After the pull-out of U.S. forces, Turkish troops entered northern Syria to push the Kurdish-led SDF away from the border area, and to create a safe zone in Syrian border to resettle tens of thousands of Syrian refugees currently in Turkey.

On Saturday, injured and dead people were reportedly evacuated from Ras al-Ain in a humanitarian convoy.

The Syrian Defense Forces (SDF), who fought with Kurdish fighters, accused Turkey of violating the ceasefire, which they say caused 16 deaths.

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