U.S. withdrawal from Syria is conditional

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The White House has sent national security adviser John Bolton on a mission to allay Israel's concerns about President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw USA troops from Syria.

The Times story Trump is complaining about is a report on national security adviser John Bolton's comments "laying out conditions for a pullout that could leave American forces there for months or even years".

"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.

Syrian Kurds, who have fought ISIS alongside American forces, fear an attack from Turkey when the US withdraws.

Speaking from the White House, President Trump also said on Sunday that the withdrawal would be contingent on the defeat of remaining Islamic State forces.

An official traveling with Bolton said there is no timeline for the withdrawal of US troops from Syria, but Trump had been assured "this can be done in weeks". The Americans are said to be concerned that China will use the port to improve its standing in the Middle East and potentially gather intelligence on U.S. interests.

But Trump appeared to indicate Sunday that Iran and Russian Federation, whose forces in Syria back Assad, were potential U.S. allies against the Islamic State.

Among the policy decisions still to be made was what to do about the tens of thousands of Syrian Kurdish fighters that USA forces had trained, armed and advised to carry out the ground war against the Islamic State.

Angered by Trump's move, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas boycotted his administration, saying Washington is no longer qualified to serve as the sole mediator in the decades-long conflict with Israel, and that an worldwide mechanism should be devised to replace the USA in the so-called peace process.

Trump has made clear that he would not allow Turkey to kill the Kurds, Bolton said.

The withdrawal from Syria looks less imminent and more aspirational with every frequent-flier mile John Bolton picks up.

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"We won't be finally pulled out until ISIS is gone", Trump said before departing for Camp David.

That comment built on frictions that flared on Friday after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview the US wanted to ensure the "Turks don't slaughter the Kurds" once its troops are out of the region. Over the past week, Bolton has acknowledged that ISIS is not yet vanquished and still has the capacity for "reviving" itself; USA allies in the region still require our protection; and that the withdrawal is limited to "northeastern Syria".

"Tomorrow, if weather permits, we'll go up to the Golan Heights".

United States National Security Advisor John Bolton has warned the Syrian government it should not see the impending U.S. military withdrawal from the country as an invitation to use chemical weapons.

"As long as there are USA troops on the ground we will conduct air and artillery strikes in support of our forces", a Pentagon spokesman has told CNN.

Bolton was expected to explain that some US troops based in Syria to fight ISIL will shift to Iraq with the same mission and that the al-Tanf base would remain.

Bolton's remarks and Turkey's response mark the latest chapter in the White House's decision to withdraw its troops from Syria - a move that culminated in the resignations of Defense Secretary James Mattis and Brett McGurk, the top presidential envoy in the fight against ISIS.

In Washington on Sunday, Mr Trump reiterated that the USA would be pulling its troops out of Syria but suggested the move might not happen soon.

The holy site, which is also one of the country's major tourist attraction, is controversial and foreign officials generally avoid meeting in the area.

On Friday, in a briefing for reporters about a forthcoming trip to the Middle East by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a senior State Department official said there was no fixed timetable for the American withdrawal.