U.S. begins Iraq drawdown after declaration of victory over ISIS

Yahya Rahim Safavi

Yahya Rahim Safavi

Some 4,000 US troops will continue training Iraqi army.

The U.S. -led worldwide military coalition helped Iraqi forces recapture territory taken by Islamic State in 2014 and 2015, providing air and artillery support in the battle to for Mosul, and trained tens of thousands of elite Iraqi soldiers. The same month, the Pentagon said there were roughly 5,200 American forces in Iraq.

The U.S. will move troops from Iraq to Afghanistan, however, the shift will not represent a large "exodus" of soldiers from the country, Department of Defence spokesman Eric Pahon told Sputnik.

An Associated Press reporter at the Al-Asad base in western Iraq saw troop movements reflecting the account by contractors. Government spokesman Saad al-Hadithi said "the battle against Daesh has ended and so the level of the American presence will be reduced".

"There will be a gradual reduction of the US forces in the coming months without replacing them with others", Silliman said.

That would leave some 4,000 United States troops to continue training the Iraqi military.

"Continued coalition presence in Iraq will be conditions-based, proportional to the need and in coordination with the government of Iraq", Coalition Spokesman Army Col. Ryan Dillon told the Associated Press.

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This is for the e first time since the war against Daesh (IS) was launched three years ago.

Is the USA drawing down its military presence in Iraq, following a declaration of victory over ISIS?

Iraq declared the defeat of IS in December - a major victory for country which once saw almost one-third of its territory controlled by the group.

The U.S. first launched airstrikes against the Islamic State group in in August 2014.

Iraq's government said that Iraqi authorities would coordinate U.S. troop presence with the coalition.

Some reports suggest the area contains a militant group known as the "White Flag" which is comprised of Sunni fighters of various backgrounds fighting against Iraqi security forces, namely the Hashd al-Shaabi militias. US troop numbers eventually wound down to 40,000 before the complete withdrawal in 2011.

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