The United States has officially begun its announced withdrawal from Syria with the first ground equipment being pulled from the war-torn country, an administration official familiar with the operation said.
“Some cargo has already moved,” the official noted, without providing further details about what the cargo was or from where it was moved, due to security concerns.
CNN reports that officials have told it to expect to see discussion of percentages of equipment withdrawn as a way of executing Trump’s order, although no troops would be pulled immediately. For now, senior officials are declining to determine an exact timeline on the troops’ withdrawal from Syria.
A statement issued by the Pentagon earlier this week said that “out of concern for operational security, we will not be discussing specific troop movements or timelines, but we do expect to provide a periodic update on progress regarding percentages of equipment removed from Syria.”
U.S. Central Command, which is overseeing the withdrawal operation, has identified ships, aircraft and ground units that will be used in the operation. They will provide intelligence and reconnaissance as withdrawals occur, securing forces and heavy ground transport vehicles, CNN further informs.
The withdrawal is being carried out under a December order signed by former Defense Secretary James Mattis before leaving the administration. Military planners are still working on the basis that all troops will be withdrawn from Syria.
According to the official, in case there are changes to that plan they would have to be approved by President Donald Trump.