Russian soldiers filmed at hurriedly abandoned US base after Trump ordered Syria troop withdrawal

Video shows Stieg Larsson novel, cereal, a fridge full of Coke and other items apparently left behind by American forces in Manbij

Journalist Oleg Blokhin films inside abandoned US base in Manbij Syria as Russian troops enter site

Video footage has emerged apparently showing an abandoned US military base in northern Syria that has been taken over by Russian troops, following Donald Trump’s order to withdraw.

The US president’s move has been widely criticised for effectively signalling to Turkey, a Nato member, that it could launch an offensive against Kurds in the region, whom American forces had previously been helping in the battle against Isis.

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced in the past few days, and dozens of civilians killed, amid accusations the invading force has committed war crimes.

Footage circulating on social media on Tuesday appeared to depict a US base in the key town of Manbij that had been abandoned by departing soldiers. Tents and a radio mast can be seen in the video, plus an American football, cereal crates, fridges stocked with Coca Cola and a copy of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo in English.

The Washington Post reported that the footage was posted to social media by Russian journalist Oleg Blokhin.

“We are at the US base in Manbij. Only yesterday morning they were still here and today we are here. Let’s have a look at how they lived here, what they did and what it is all about,” he reportedly said.

RT, the Kremlin-funded television network, also posted footage that showed similar scenes. Moscow, an ally of Syria’s government, sent its military into the disputed region to keep Turkish and Syrian military forces separated.

Colonel Myles Caggin, the spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, said on Twitter that “coalition forces are executing a deliberate withdrawal from northeast Syria. We are out of Manbij”.

It came as recriminations swirled around Mr Trump’s order to withdraw. Under pressure both domestically and internationally, the president slapped sanctions on top Turkish officials and is dispatching vice president Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, to Ankara.

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, rejected his American counterpart’s call for a ceasefire in his bid to create a buffer zone against the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Turkey sees the group as a terrorist organisation due to its links with the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party.

Mr Erdogan has accepted an invitation to visit Moscow for talks, which could take place before the end of the month, according to Russian media reports.

On Tuesday the UK joined Italy, Germany and France in halting new arms exports to Turkey in response to the invasion.

France announced on Wednesday that nine French women suspected of belonging to Isis had escaped from a Kurdish-controlled camp in Syria.

Additional reporting by agencies

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