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The withdrawal began with shipments of military equipment, USA defense officials said.

Information about "specific timelines, locations or troop movements" will not be revealed due to security considerations, said Colonel Sean Ryan, spokesperson for the USA -led coalition against ISIS - which makes basic good sense to anyone who has lived in the region for more than five minutes. These include troops to provide additional security.

The CNN report added that officials it had previously spoken to said the Pentagon wants to signal to the president it is working towards his goals following his withdrawal decision last month.

Later in the day, however, some of those outlets conceded that the spokesman did not indicate whether any American service members were being pulled out or whether the USA military was carrying out other activities that could be considered a withdrawal.

On Friday, Bolton said that the militaries of the USA and Turkey are set to continue negotiating on the Kurdish issue. The plan hinges on Turkish cooperation to secure a swathe of northeast Syria as the United States departs.

The military is carrying out the withdrawal under an order signed by former Defense Secretary James Mattis just before he left office December 31. It also led to major criticism that the US was abandoning its local Kurdish allies amid Turkish threats of an imminent attack. His statements appeared to contradict those made earlier by Trump.

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In fact, Pompeo went further, and in his address from the American University in Cairo on Thursday, said the United States would make very sure the Islamic State terrorist group was defeated, and that "every last Iranian boot" was out of Syria before leaving the area.

Kurdish officials, meanwhile, have demanded clarifications from the US over its intentions.

Opponents of the move claim that the pullout will allow Russia, Iran and the Syrian regime to expand their influence in the region. A USA troop pullout leaves the Kurds exposed to Turkish attacks from one side, and Syrian government troops on the other.

Turkey views the YPG as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade insurgency in Turkey's largely Kurdish southeast.

"When the time and place comes, the terrorists here will also be buried in the ditches and trenches they have dug", the minister said in southern Sanliurfa province.

A second United States defence official said the military had conducted a number of preparations for a deliberate withdrawal. She said Russian Federation has not seen public statements laying out the USA strategy in Syria and so can not be sure that the U.S.is serious about leaving.