Trump aide: US military withdrawal from Syria 'waiting on conditions'

Most of the USA military bases in Syria are located in the north, in the areas controlled by Kurdish militia who actively cooperated with the United States in the fight against the Islamists.

Jim Jeffrey, the special representative for Syrian engagement and the newly named American special envoy for the anti-ISIL coalition, is to travel to Syria this coming week in an effort to reassure the Kurdish fighters that they are not being abandoned, Bolton said.

Bolton's comments are the first public confirmation that the withdrawal process has been slowed down.

Bolton was also to tell Israeli officials that the United States would be "very supportive" of Israeli strikes against Iranian targets in Syria, the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

US President Donald Trump's decision last month to leave Syria has exposed the Kurdish group to possible Turkish attacks. After holding the unnamed man as an "enemy combatant" on a military base in Iraq for months, the USA planned to release him first to Saudi Arabia, then back into Syria under "safe conditions" in the area where he was captured.

He said he planned to take Bolton to visit the Golan before he leaves for Turkey on Monday if weather permits.

Mr Trump said: 'We have defeated Isis in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency'.

Critics of the Syria withdrawal, including Sen.

The American, a Texan named Warren Christopher Clark, 34, was one of two alleged USA citizens captured in a counterterrorism raid near the Iraqi border, where US -backed forces are continuing to battle a pocket of the terrorists, the Syrian Democratic Forces said in a release on Sunday.

President Donald Trump's abrupt decision to announce a USA pullout from Syria left many questions, including whether Kurdish fighters who had been operating in northern Syria alongside United States forces would now be targeted by their long-time enemy Turkey.

A local fighter, a Kurd from the YPG militia which dominates the Syrian Democratic Forces, was killed when a counter-attacking Isis unit fired what local commanders said was a heat-seeking missile at the group on Saturday morning.

In Washington, Trump told reporters at the White House that "we are pulling back in Syria".

Turkey's presidential spokesman called allegations that his country planned to attack the USA -allied Kurds in Syria "irrational" and said Turkey was fighting terrorism for national security.

He also stressed there was no set timetable for USA withdrawal from Syria, adding that Washington was not interested in maintaining a long-term military presence in the country.

Smith said he hoped to have Mattis testify before his panel, calling the former defence secretary's views "invaluable".

The ISIS fighters were preparing to attack civilians fleeing the area, the SDF said. Smith was more succinct in his assessment of Trump's approach to global relations, saying that "our allies matter enormously and the President treats them like dirt".

A Kurdish-led force announced, meanwhile, that its fighters had captured five foreign jihadists while combating IS in eastern Syria.

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