ISIS beaten, United States troops reportedly start Iraq drawdown

Casey Dawson
February 7, 2018

The Iraqi government confirmed on Monday that the U.S. has started to drawdown its forces from Iraq, following Baghdad's declaration of victory over ISIS in December.

The US will withdraw troops from Iraq following a deal between the US-led coalition and the Iraqi government, according to an Associated Press report.

Since ISIS and other terror groups lost their territories in Iraq and Syria, Washington has been relocating the terrorists to Afghanistan by various means, the top commander went on to say.

Al-Hadithi stressed to the AP that the drawdown is still in its early stages and at present does not mark the beginning of a complete withdrawal of US forces. He spoke to the AP on Monday afternoon in Baghdad.

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 U.S. -led coalition fighting ISIS announced Monday that its military campaign in Iraq will shift focus from combat operations to sustaining military gains against ISIS.

The Pentagon said in December there were around 5,200 American forces in Iraq.

Dozens of American soldiers have been transported from Iraq to Afghanistan on daily flights over the past week.

There were some 170,000 American troops in Iraq in 2007 at the height of the surge of US forces to combat sectarian violence unleashed by the USA -led invasion of the country to oust dictator Saddam Hussein.

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When asked for comment, Army spokesman, Col. Ryan Dillon told the AP that: "Continued coalition presence in Iraq will be conditions-based, proportional to the need and in coordination with the government of Iraq".

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

A Pentagon report in December stated that there were 8,892 USA troops in the country.

The US first launched airstrikes against IS in Iraq in August 2014, as part of a military intervention which was initially described as "limited".

"Great power competition, not terrorism, is now the primary focus of USA national security", Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said last month in remarks outlining the strategy.

"The generator is important because it's how we operate our aircraft", said an Iraqi pilot instructor.

Iraqi special forces raided a hideout of Daesh militants in al-Bir town, 45 kilometers southeast of Mosul upon a tip-off from local residents, Lieutenant-Colonel Abdel-Salam al-Jabouri told Anadolu Agency.

Kataib Hezbollah has strong links to Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps and has threatened to attack US forces several times in the past, describing their presence as an occupation.

There were some 170,000 American troops in in 2007 at the height of the surge of USA forces to combat sectarian violence unleashed by the US -led invasion of the country to oust dictator Saddam Hussein.

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