US troops start pullout from along Turkey’s border in Syria

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In this Sept. 21, 2019, photo, released by the U.S. Army, a U.S. soldier oversees members of the Syrian Democratic Forces as they demolish a Kurdish fighters’ fortification as part of the so-called “safe zone” near the Turkish border. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Goedl via AP)

BEIRUT (AP) — U.S.-backed Kurdish-led forces in Syria say American troops have begun withdrawing from areas along Turkey’s border.

This comes hours after the White House said U.S. forces in northeastern Syria will move aside and clear the way for an expected Turkish assault — essentially abandoning Kurdish fighters who fought alongside American forces in the yearslong battle to defeat the Islamic State group.

The Syrian Democratic Forces say the move comes as Turkey is preparing to attack Kurdish-held areas in northeast Syria.

The statement warns the Turkish invasion would be a blow to the fight against IS militants.

The Kurdish Hawar news agency and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also say American troops were evacuating positions near the towns of Ras al-Ayn and Tal Abyad on Monday.

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