Withdrawal of U.S. forces in Syria likely to start in 'weeks': U.S. general

U.S. Army General Joseph Votel, commander of the U.S. Central Command, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT (Reuters) - The United States is likely just weeks away from starting the withdrawal of ground troops from Syria ordered by President Donald Trump, the top U.S. commander overseeing American forces in the Middle East said on Sunday.

U.S. Army General Joseph Votel, head of the U.S. military's Central Command, also said he believed troop levels in Iraq would remain broadly steady, adding: "We don't want to keep people on the ground that we don't need and (who) don't have a valid mission."

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Daniel Wallis)