Is the US withdrawing immediately from Syria, or not? According to Pres. Donald Trump the troops are pulling out immediately. According to his Security Adviser John Bolton and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, not just yet. They claim that the US troops will not be withdrawn until the US allies, the Kurds, whose YPG militia is the majority in the Syrian Democratic Forces, are assured that they will not be attacked by the Turkish Army, that is poised on the border of their autonomous region in northeastern Syria called Rojava, to do just that.
Who is really speaking for the Administration? VP Mike Pence then came out to clarify things, yes the US is withdrawing now, but Pres. Trump wants assurances from Pres. Erdogan of Turkey that he will not attack the Kurdish enclave and if he does Trump has said he will put devastating economic sanctions on Turkey. Nevertheless. Erdogan is insistent, he regards all Kurdish groups as terrorists, no different from the Islamic State, that the US, the Kurds and the Turks have been fighting. And then what will the Iranians and the Russian do if Turkey invades Rojava, that they consider part of Syria and within their spheres of influence. And the Kurds, who regard the Syrian regime of Assad and the Syrian Army as their enemy, would rather surrender to them than face an invading Turkish Army. Yes, it is complex.
At present Russia is brokering talks between the Syrian regime and the Kurds. One thing you can be sure, Assad will not allow the Syrian Kurds to have autonomy as they have done for nearly 10 years in Rojava. Unfortunately no power, including the US are prepared to support Kurdish autonomy against such forces. basically the US used the Kurdish YPG to destroy the IS, and as Trump is now doing, withdrawing and leaving them to their fate. Such is the nature of power politics.