"We are not going to leave right now, before the Geneva process did not move. This does not mean that all stay there. And it certainly does not mean that some troops leave. I'm just saying, what we put conditions," said Mattis.
He noted that the US will try to provide the conditions for a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Syria.
As reported, Washington for several years supplied the armed moderate rebel groups, leading the fight against the government forces of President Bashar al-Assad and the "Islamic state" (IG), and provided training to rebel units. In July 2017, the United States stopped supporting the moderate opposition in an attempt to improve relations with Russia, and in the fall sent the weapons to the units of the Syrian Kurds fighting against ISIS in Northern Syria.
As you know, with the end of 2014, the US led international coalition, which includes about 60 countries, including Germany. Coalition commits to air strikes on targets "Islamic state" and other radical Islamist groups. Sometimes air attacks are applied for purposes of the government of the Syrian army. In April 2017, the President of the United States Donald trump ordered to launch a missile attack on Syrian air base in perfect response to the Syrian government's chemical attack on civilians in Idlib.
After change of the head of the US White house still are active in the fight against ISIS. The remaining goals are not so obvious. In September, President Donald trump told reporters that "Syria, the United States does not retain almost nothing except destroy "ISIS".
In July, Washington took an active part in the negotiations on the conclusion of a truce between government troops and opposition forces. The new US administration has also stated that it will not focus on the resignation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Predecessor, Donald trump, Barack Obama insisted that "Assad must go".
Washington supported the annual peace negotiations under UN auspices with the participation of representatives of the Syrian government and the opposition. However, participants in these meetings since 2012, and failed to reach agreement. The main point of contention during negotiations in February-March was the question of whether Assad's resignation be a condition for the final peaceful settlement of the conflict.
In September it became known that the United States closed one of his two bases in the South of Syria — Al-Sakf. The decision to close the base AZ-SACF, located near the border of Syria and Iraq, was the result of negotiations between representatives of Russia, USA and Jordan. Now the United States has one base in Syria — base Al-TANF, which is located on the border with Jordan.
According to Russian military expert Vladimir Yevseyev, the Americans gradually switch their attention to another area of Syria, "by Creating strongholds in the South, the United States relied on forming there a kind of buffer zone and filling it with the militants they trained in Jordan. But it failed because the Syrian army and Pro-Iranian forces. Then Washington began to look for ways to maintain its presence in the area that was implemented in the form of a zone of de-escalation. Russia guaranteed the withdrawal of Hezbollah. And the continued presence of USA in that volume in what it was before, became impractical. The South of Syria the Americans are not seen as priorities: osnovnoe their attention has shifted to Deir-ez-Zor".