Tuesday, 21 August, 2018

ISIS beaten, United States troops reportedly start Iraq drawdown

Raisi tours the Israel Lebanon border Raisi tours the Israel Lebanon border
Gerardo Duncan | 07 February, 2018, 02:07

The Iraqi official had told the Associated Press that U.S. forces had started to withdraw from the country following IS' defeat.

"There is a coordination with the Iraqi government and the United States to gradually reduce the number of the US troops in Iraq as victory has been achieved over IS group", spokesman Saad al-Hadithi told Xinhua via phone.

American troops have started to draw down from Iraq following Baghdad's declaration of victory over the Islamic State group past year, according to western contractors at a US -led coalition base in Iraq.

Some foreign journalist confirmed the troops movement at Ain Asad base. The plan would leave about 4,000 USA troops to continue training the Iraqi military.

An Iraqi official close to the country's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said earlier that the initial agreement implied the withdrawal of some 60 percent of the current USA contingent, while 4,000 troops would stay to train the Iraqi military.

Last year, Abadi told Middle East Eye that Iraq wanted fewer U.S. forces on its territory after IS was eradicated.

The US combat mission in Iraq ended in 2010 but some American troops remained in the country to train and assist Iraqi forces.

The U.S. first launched airstrikes against the Daesh terror group in Iraq in August 2014.

The second group, Kataib Hezbollah, has previously threatened to attack USA forces several times, denouncing their presence in Iraq as an occupation.

In 2014, at the height of the militant group's power, ISIL controlled almost a third of Iraqi territory, before being beaten back by security forces backed by a US-led coalition.

Two major Iraqi Shi'ite groups backed by Iran are demanding all US forces leave Iraq, opposing plans by Baghdad and Washington to keep some there for training and advisory purposes. Gen. James Jarrard, commanding general of the special operations joint task force. He said he recognized that the decision fell within the jurisdiction of the central government but that local officials in Anbar would have asked the U.S.to reconsider.

Iraq declared victory over Daesh in December after more than three years of grueling combat against the extremists in a war Iraqi forces fought with close USA support.

The terror group surrendered control of 98 percent of its territory in the region and now occupies only two percent of land near the Syrian city of Al-Shaafah, where the strike occurred.

"We'll continue our presence as long as the Iraqis ask us to".

Information for this article was contributed by Muhanad al-Saleh of The Associated Press.

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