White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders added that "we have started returning United States troops home". "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". A spokesman for the group, Mustafa Bali, said they included two Americans, two Pakistanis and one Irish citizen.
Bolton's explanation of the conditions for withdrawal appeared to contradict U.S. President Donald Trump's December 19 Twitter announcement that ISIS had been defeated and that U.S. forces were "coming back now". "Instead, we have decision-making by presidential tweet or pronouncement followed by advisers scrambling to implement Trump's guidance in a more rational way".
"We won't be finally pulled out until ISIS is gone", Trump said on Sunday.
Ziya Meral, senior resident fellow at the British Army's Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Research, said the priorities of the United States and Turkey over northern Syria are hard to reconcile, not least because it is not clear what it is that the Trump administration actually want to see in the long term. After fierce criticism from members of his administration, Trump seems to have backtracked, saying there is now no timeline for such a withdrawal.
Bolton, along with the US State and Defense departments, said the US is working with its partners to ensure a safe troop withdrawal and handoff of security obligations.
"We don't think the Turks ought to undertake military action that's not fully coordinated with and agreed to by the United States", he said. "I'm very confident of that", he said.
Regional experts who consult with members of the U.S. government said there were signs that Bolton and Pompeo were not on the same page.
Trump may not entirely subscribe to past US presidents' tendency toward strategic predictability, but it's his prerogative whether or not to heed the advice of advisers, said David Priess, a former CIA analyst and author of "The President's Book of Secrets: The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to America's Presidents".
"We took over from an administration that let Iran loose", Pompeo said in response to questions from the Free Beacon, referring to the Obama administration's efforts to appease Tehran in a bid to ink the landmark nuclear deal.
The UK has formed part of a US-led coalition carrying out air strikes against IS in Syria.
"If we leave now the Kurds will get in a fight with Turkey".
"We will absolutely talk about" the peace process, Pompeo said. But these are countries that hate ISIS.
According to Erim, if Turkey doesn't see Bolton's requests as feasible, then it will go back to square one, meaning Turkey will conduct a military operation despite United States military presence in Syria.
Kurdish news outlet Rudaw reported that the British soldiers were hurt in an attack on a Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) base in the town of Deir al-Zour, which also left a Kurdish fighter dead.
"It's going quickly", Trump said about the timeline. Trump himself, however, also toured the area in a previous visit.
In July 2018, Trump met with Putin in Helsinki, talking without aides present for over two hours, then emerging to declare that the Russian leader "was extremely strong and powerful in his denial" of meddling in the 2016 election.