Turkish rebels find tunnel network abandoned by Kurdish troops

Defense Secretary: American Troops Are Leaving Northern Syria And Heading to Western Iraq

The clock is ticking on Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring - Turkish official

Dozens of US armoured vehicles have already crossed into Iraqi Kurdistan from Syria with American soldiers aboard.

Erdogan said: "If the promises given to us by America are not kept, we will continue our operation from where it left off, this time with a much bigger determination". "So we have a small group there, and we secured the oil". It also offered some insight into what America's fight against ISIS will look like after the president's widely criticized decision to move troops away from locations in northern Syria. Turkey's aim is to establish a "safe zone" along the Syria-Turkey border free of Kurdish fighters, particularly Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia fighters.

US President Donald Trump told reporters on Monday that the US-brokered ceasefire is holding.

Trump conceded at the Cabinet meeting that the soldiers will be "sent, initially, to different parts", but he claimed that they would "ultimately" return to the US.

The secretary said there have been discussions about keeping U.S. troops in northeastern Syria for a longer period, but there has not yet been a military option along those lines presented to Trump.

The Pentagon chief said the plan for was still in the discussion phase and had not yet been presented to President Donald Trump.

"The quickest way to get them out of danger was to get them into Iraq", Mulvaney told Fox News on Sunday. The White House in December ordered 2,000 US troops to leave Syria immediately, but later it compromised with the military to keep around 1,000 troops in Syria.

With Trump's withdrawal of most USA troops, Russia, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has stepped into the vacuum in northern Syria.

The Turkish military's death toll has risen to seven soldiers since it launched its offensive on October 9.

New York Times: "As U.S. Leaves Allies in Syria, Kurdish Commander Struggles With Fallout" - "As United States troops continued their withdrawal from Syria on Sunday, a line of cars carried their routed former allies, terrified civilians and dead bodies out of a pulverized border town that had been besieged by Turkish forces for more than a week".

USA forces have withdrawn from several bases in Syria, including from the key town of Manbij and another close to Kobane close to the Turkish border.

With the US pulling out its troops, Kurdish commander Mazlum Kobani is predicting his people will be slaughtered.

While Esper said he had spoken with his Iraqi counterpart and will continue to have conversations in the future, the move will likely be viewed with skepticism by some in Iraq.

He brought up the images of US troops being pelted with rotten fruit and vegetables, and even some stones, as they were leaving.

The US has more than 5,000 American forces in Iraq, under an agreement between the two countries. The U.S. pulled its troops out of Iraq in 2011 when combat operations there ended, but they went back in after IS began to take over large swaths of the country in 2014.

Speaking to CNBC's Wilfred Frost in a taped interview that aired on Closing Bell, Pompeo said, "we prefer peace to war".

'The battle of Idlib is the basis for resolving chaos and terrorism in all other areas of Syria, ' he said.

Trump also told reporters at the White House Monday that the USA would "work something out" with the Kurds in eastern Syria to ensure they have access to income from Syrian oil.

"People have been trying to make this deal for years", Trump said of his ceasefire agreement with Turkey.

American forces have permission from the Kurdish regional government to transit through Iraq but have no approval to stay there, a statement said today. The Turks, he said, have indicated they have control of the IS prisons in their areas. "I'm increasingly optimistic. This can turn out very well", he said.

"That is the current game plan, things can change between now and whenever we complete the withdrawal but that is the game plan right now", the senior official added.

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