USA national security advisor John Bolton said Friday that talks between US and Turkish military officials will continue next week.
The US-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) confirmed on Friday that the military had started the "deliberate withdrawal" of the roughly 2,000 American troops in Syria. The confusion was precipitated by President Trump's shock announcement over the issue last month.
"That includes planning for the moving of people and equipment, preparation of facilities to accept retrograde equipment", the official said, noting that no troops had been withdrawn.
Journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a USA resident, entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2 seeking documents that would have allowed him to marry his Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz.
In addition, USA warplanes from the aircraft carrier Stennis, patrolling the Persian Gulf, were flying missions over Syria and Iraq, Stars & Stripes reported from aboard the Stennis.
No U.S. personnel have left Syria yet, according to a Pentagon spokesman.
"Timetables or the timing of the withdrawal occurs as a result of the fulfillment of the conditions and the establishment of the circumstances that we want to see", Bolton said Sunday, which struck a different tone than the December 19 announcement White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders made, in which she said the USA had already begun pulling American troops.
She added that the peace and stability of areas United States forces withdraw from "must be guaranteed", including by putting an end to the Turkish threats and fully eradicating the IS group and its sleeper cells.
"We have no problems with our Kurdish brothers, Arab brothers in Syria, Turkmens and other ethnic and religious groups", the DM explained, "Our only targets are the terrorists ISIS and PKK/YPG".
She also confessed that the terrorist organization forcefully recruited underage children and sent them to fight against Turkish soldiers during the Operation Olive Branch.
On Sunday, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said American troops would not leave northeastern Syria until ISIS is defeated and the American-allied Kurdish fighters are protected.
The secretary of state will also discuss the need for Yemen's warring parties to abide by agreements made at UN-brokered talks in Sweden, particularly the ceasefire and withdrawal of forces in Hodeidah, the department said.
"Let me be clear: America will not retreat until the terror fight is over", Pompeo said.
Pompeo said Trump considers the kingdom a "key ally" for the US and their partnership will keep going. USA forces took a similar approach in neighbouring Iraq, starting in 2014, but in that case, they had a willing partner in the Iraqi government, whereas in Syria, the U.S.is present without the blessing of President Bashar Assad.
What is the United States presence in Syria? American and Russian warplanes have shared the skies over Syria, carrying out separate- and in some cases, conflicting - missions against the IS group and other targets.
The U.S. announcement that Mr. Trump's ordered withdrawal is underway might be enough to convince Turkey to hold fire against America's Kurdish battleground allies, for a while, but Erdogan still wants to go after them, and he could make good on his threats - even on a small scale - at any time. He has, however, asserted that the USA must bring an end to the Mideast wars that began after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.