The Syrian Arab News Agency has published new footage it says shows a large convoy of US military vehicles being withdrawn from Syria into Iraq.
The video shows an armoured vehicle flying the American flag at the front of a large convoy of civilian transport trucks carrying Humvees and Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs), Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks (HEMTTs), oil tankers, containers carrying unidentified supplies, pickup trucks and minivans, what appear to be Oskosh tank haulers, and construction equipment. Multiple bystanders are seen watching or filming the vehicles as they pass.
The news agency did not give an indication as to the location where the video was filmed, although it previously published a separate video showing a column of 55 vehicles crossing from Syria into Iraq at the Al Waleed border crossing point. The Syrian government classifies the border checkpoint as ‘illegal’ because of the US garrison which continues to be stationed on the Syrian side of the border in the town of Al Tanf.
In addition to the video, SANA also published photos of convoy.
US Doing Partial Pullout, but 'Keeping the Oil'
The Trump administration made a decision to reposition the estimated 1,000 troops stationed in northern Syria alongside local Kurdish militia out of the area last month, just before Turkey began a military invasion of northern Syria on October 9 to clear the border area of Daesh (ISIS)* and the YPG, a Kurdish militia group which Ankara classifies as a terrorist ally to Turkish Kurdish PKK rebels.
Some of these forces were redeployed out of Syria and into neighbouring Iraq, although the New York Times reported last week that up to 900 US troops may remain in the war-torn country, partly in order to fulfil President Trump’s stated mission of preventing Syrian oil wells from falling into the hands of terrorists or the Syrian government.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan flew to Sochi to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on October 22, where a deal was worked out in which the Kurdish forces would pull back to a 30 km zone away from the Turkish border, and under which Turkish and Russian forces would start joint patrols along the border area.
*A terrorist organisation banned in Russia and many other countries.