US troops cross into Iraq from Syria


October 21, 2019


A convoy of US troops head towards the Iraqi border in north-eastern Syria on Oct 20, 2019. PHOTO: EPA-EFE


DOHUK, IRAQ (Reuters) – United States troops have crossed into Iraq from Syria through the Sahela border crossing in the northern province of Dohuk, Reuters witnesses said on Monday (Oct 21).

Reuters video images showed armoured vehicles carrying troops into Iraq, part of the US withdrawal from Syria. A Reuters cameraman saw more than 100 vehicles crossing.

An Iraqi Kurdish security source also told Reuters that US troops had crossed into the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of Iraq.

About 30 trailers and Hummers carrying heavier duty equipment crossed, with troops in cars coming through, the source added. A second security source in Mosul also said US troops had crossed into Iraq from Sahela.

US Defence Secretary Mark Esper said last Saturday that all of the nearly 1,000 troops withdrawing from northern Syria are expected to move to western Iraq to continue the campaign against Islamic State militants and “to help defend Iraq”.

Last Thursday, Turkey agreed in talks with US Vice-President Mike Pence to a five-day pause in an offensive into north-eastern Syria to allow time for the Kurdish fighters to withdraw from a “safe zone” Ankara aims to establish near its border with Syria.

The truce also aimed to ease a crisis triggered by President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision this month to withdraw all 1,000 US troops from northern Syria, a move criticised in Washington and elsewhere as a betrayal of loyal Kurdish allies who had fought for years alongside US troops against Islamic State.

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