A political analyst from a Russian-backed tabloid has slammed Trump's abrupt decision to withdraw US troops from northern Syria as "reckless" and has deemed the move a huge win for Russia.

Headlined "Putin has won the lottery, the unexpected triumph of Russia in the Middle East", Mikhail Rostovsky started his piece for the Moskovsky Komsomolets by saying "those who are certain that Trump is of no use to Russia, should think again".

In his scathing assessment of Trump's decision to withdraw US forces from Syria, which was followed by a bombardment of Turkish forces, Rotovsky said the move had strengthened Moscow's "already rather strong political position" in the region.

"I have racked my brains trying to understand why Trump made this possible by kindly withdrawing most of his troops from Syria," he wrote.


"What Washington got out of this strange move is completely unclear. To the contrary, what Moscow gained from this is self-evident.

"Trump's mistake in Syria is the unexpected 'lottery win' that further strengthened Moscow's position in the Middle East and undermined America's prestige as a rational political player and a reliable partner."

The president himself felt his decision to leave Syria was a very smart choice, one that would benefit the United States in the long run.

"I viewed the situation on the Turkish border with Syria to be, for the United States, strategically brilliant. Our soldiers are out of there, our soldiers are totally safe," Trump said.

Rostovsky, however, said the move showed America's waning influence in the region.

"The huge giant called America has got itself lost in broad daylight," he said.

"Trump's administration can't keep up with events."

A senior Syrian Kurdish official says his forces will pull back from a border area in accordance with a US-brokered deal after Turkey allowed the evacuation of its remaining fighters and civilians from a besieged town.


Redur Khalil, a senior Syrian Democratic Forces official, said on Saturday the plan for evacuation from the town of Ras al-Ayn is set for the following day, if there are no delays.

He says only after that will his force pull back from a 120km area between the towns of Ras al-Ayn and Tal-Aybad. It will withdraw and move back 30km from the border.

This is the first time the Kurdish force has publicly acknowledged it will withdraw from the border, saying it has co-ordinated it with the Americans. The agreement has not specified the area of its pullback.

Previous agreements between the US and Turkey over a "safe zone" along the Syria-Turkish border floundered over the diverging definitions of the area. Khalil said a partial evacuation happened earlier Saturday from Ras al-Ayn after much stalling and with US co-ordination.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he would press on with Turkey's offensive into northeastern Syria and "crush the heads of terrorists" if a deal with Washington on the withdrawal of Kurdish fighters from the area was not fully implemented.

Just hours after troops were pulled from the area, the US conducted air strikes on one of its own bases to stop its equipment from falling into the wrong hands.

NBC News foreign affairs analyst Brett McGurk said the bombing of formerly held positions to prevent their seizure was a "break glass" procedure representing an "extreme worst case scenario".

Earlier this month, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced President Donald Trump had ordered the partial withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria, opening the door for neighbouring Turkey to begin attacking Kurdish-led forces occupying the region.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) — an alliance primarily led by Kurdish militias — had been important allies in the fight against ISIS, despite ties to the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK), which is considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US, and 29 other nations.

The withdrawal process has not been expedited and expanded, with Secretary Esper announcing last Sunday that the US would withdraw all of its roughly 1,000 troops from the region.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fired off a fresh warning to "crush" Kurdish forces as both sides traded accusations of violating a US-brokered five-day ceasefire in northeastern Syria.

Conflict is reportedly continuing in the area despite the US brokered five-day ceasefire announced on Thursday.

There have been reports of shelling being heard near the border as well as ground skirmishes.

Kurdish authorities said at least 218 civilians, including 18 children, had been killed in Syria since the offensive started.