USA begins troop withdrawal from Iraq after ISIS defeat


The US military will gradually reduce the number of American troops in Iraq, an official in Baghdad said yesterday. Daesh is the Arabic language acronym for IS.

The United States first launched air strikes against IS in Iraq in August 2014 and in the following years closely backed key Iraqi military victories, including the retaking of Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city.

Earlier Monday, The Associated Press and Reuters quoted an Iraqi government spokesman as saying US forces were drawing down in the country following ISIS's defeat there.

The U.S. -led counter-Islamic State coalition says it is shifting its focus in Iraq away from supporting Iraqi combat operations, but is denying the United States is withdrawing forces from the country.

An AP reporter at the base saw troop movements matching the officials' account. At the time the military intervention was described as "limited", but as Iraq's military struggled to roll back the extremists, the USA -led coalition's footprint in the country steadily grew.

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Major U.S. activities will include training Iraqis on how to use new equipment and border screening training to prevent Islamic State fighters from returning to Iraq.

"We will sustain the successful momentum and enhance the capacities of the Iraqi Security Forces in pursuing Daesh, now and in the future", Braga said.

Some in Iraq's Sunni minority community view the US presence in Iraq as a buffer against the country's Shiite-dominated central government. "We remain committed to working with our Iraqi partners".

To prevent the conditions under which ISIS can re-emerge, coalition-partnered military operations will enable diplomatic and economic efforts by the worldwide community that will capitalize on the military gains of the past year. The small unit, known as the Coalition Aviation Advisory and Training Team, will work alongside Iraqi airmen to help with day-to-day aircraft operations, according to officials.