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Top commander says U.S. likely to withdraw troops from Syria in weeks: U.S. media

(Xinhua)    13:24, February 11, 2019

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- U.S. media reported on Sunday that a top commander has said that the United States would likely start to withdraw its troops from Syria in weeks.

General Joseph Votel, the chief commander of U.S. Central Command overseeing troops in the Middle East and Afghanistan, made the remarks while speaking to the media on a military airplane heading to the region.

"Probably weeks. But again, it will all be driven by the situation on the ground," he was quoted by The New York Times as saying. "In terms of the withdrawal ... I think we're right on track with where we wanted to be."

"Moving people is easier than moving equipment and so what we're trying to do right now is again (to) kind of clear out those materials, that equipment, that we do not need," he added, warning however that the exact timing is still not settled.

Votel told the media that the overall U.S. troops' number in Iraq "is going to remain more or less steady."

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