BAGHDAD (Agencies): US troops leaving Syria and heading to neighboring Iraq do not have permission to stay in the country, Iraq’s military said Tuesday as American forces continued to pull out of northern Syria after Turkey’s invasion of the border region. The statement appears to contradict US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who has said that under the current plan, all US troops leaving Syria will go to western Iraq and the military would continue to conduct operations against the Islamic State group to prevent its resurgence in the region. Speaking to reporters at Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia, Esper said he’ll have a discussion with the Iraqi defense minister on Wednesday. He said the aim is to pull US soldiers out and “eventually get them home.” Angered at feeling betrayed, some residents in areas populated predominantly by Kurds in both Syria and Iraq have pelted the withdrawing troops. On Monday, a US convoy that was driving down an avenue in the Kurdish-dominated city of Qamishly was pelted with potatoes.

“Like rats, America is running away,” one man shouted in Arabic at the vehicles. Near the Iraqi city of Irbil, a small group of young men threw stones at a convoy of US armored vehicles, shouting obscenities as it drove down a main highway, according to a video circulating online.