An Iraqi statement on Tuesday contradicted the Pentagon's announcement that all of the nearly 1,000 troops withdrawing from northern Syria are expected to move to western Iraq to continue the campaign against Daesh (ISIL, or ISIS) and "to help defend Iraq".
"All US forces that withdrew from Syria received approval to enter the Kurdish region so that they may be transported outside Iraq. There is no permission granted for these forces to stay inside Iraq," the statement said.
US defense chief Mark Esper said he had spoken to his Iraqi counterpart about the plan to shift the more than 700 troops leaving Syria into western Iraq.
A senior US defense official later clarified the situation was still fluid and plans could change.
On Monday, a convoy of US troops crossed from Syria into Iraq's northern province of Dohuk, in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region.
The additional US troops would add to the more than 5,000 American forces already based in the country, training Iraqi forces.
US President Donald Trump has been widely criticized for abandoning the Kurdish Syrian People's Protection Units (YPG) militia and allowing Turkey to launch a cross-border military operation against the group.
Residents of a Kurdish-dominated Syrian city pelted US troops with potatoes and shouted expletives at them as they drove through.
A video posted on Monday by the Kurdish news agency showed a convoy of armored vehicles driving through Qamishli.
Angry residents hurled potatoes and shouted "no America" and "America liar" in English. One vehicle backed up over the pavement, in an attempt to get away from the people.
"Just like rats, America, run away. Long live the resistance and long live the YPG," a man holding a photo shouted.
Some US military members, current and former, have also publicly denounced the YPG's abandonment.
Mark Giaconia, a 46-year-old former US Army Special Forces soldier, recalled camaraderie with the Kurds he fought alongside in Iraq more than 10 years ago.
"I trusted them with my life," said Giaconia. "I fought with these guys and watched them die for us."
The Trump administration's decision to "leave them hanging" stirred deep emotions, Giaconia said.
"It's like a violation of trust," he said.
The White House declined to comment.
Source: Al Jazeera