President Donald Trump is "fully prepared" to "use all the power that we have", including military force if necessary, to protect USA interests, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday, in response to a question about Turkey's invasion of Syria.
Esper said he is discussing an option that would keep a small residual US military force to secure oil fields in eastern Syria and continue the fight against Islamic State militants. US troops on Saturday were still in the process of being moved out of the region.
"A US-brokered ceasefire was announced late Thursday, giving Kurdish forces until Tuesday evening to withdraw from a buffer area Ankara wants to create inside Syrian territory along its southern frontier".
Pentagon chief Mark Esper has indicated that the USA might drawdown its forces stationed in war-torn Afghanistan if a peace deal is reached.
The residents are shouting "No America" and "America liar" in English.
Another video, filmed in the city of Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, shows young people throwing stones at a convoy and yelling expletives as it drives past.
The American withdrawal has been criticized by US lawmakers, including some of Trump's fellow Republicans, as a betrayal of Kurdish allies who for years have helped the United States fight the Islamic State.
Esper did not rule out the idea that USA forces would conduct counterterrorism missions from Iraq into Syria.
The oil fields are assets that have also been long sought after by Russian Federation and the Assad regime, which is strapped for cash after years of civil war. It is a potentially explosive issue.
As it now stand, 5,000 American troops are now deployed in Iraq, which stems from an agreement between the two countries.
Earlier this week, Esper did not rule out the idea that US forces would conduct counterterrorism missions from Iraq into Syria.
Esper said the troops are needed to secure oil fields from falling into the hands of ISIS and profiting from them, The Associated Press reports.
His comments were the first to specifically lay out where American troops will go as they leave Syria and what the counter-IS fight could look like.
Esper said on Saturday that all of the almost 1,000 troops withdrawing from northern Syria are expected to move to western Iraq to continue the campaign against ISIS militants and "to help defend Iraq".
He said the sudden withdrawal of USA troops could take "weeks not days" and said President Donald Trump had approved keeping some forces in At Tanf in southern Syria, which has served as a strategic base for training Syrian opposition groups and countering ISIS threats.
"Our forces will remain in the towns that are located near to the oil fields", Esper said. The statement did not specify a time limit for how long the troops can stay there. The White House in December ordered 2,000 US troops to leave Syria immediately, but later it compromised with the military to keep around 1,000 troops in Syria.
Following recent withdrawal of the United States from northern Syria, Turkish soldiers launched an assault on Kurdish fighters earlier this month in northern Syria.