US Pulling Troops from Iraq After Crushing ISIS

The U.S. -led coalition fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) announced a "shift" in operations in Iraq amid reports of a U.S. drawdown there.

"So we are moving more from those combat operations, big heavy guns [and] killing ISIS (Daesh) to more training for sustainability, to help Iraqi security forces in the long term", he said, adding there is not going to be a significant drawdown in USA troop numbers as the USA media claims.

Coalition spokesman Army Colonel Ryan Dillon said: "Continued coalition presence in Iraq will be conditions-based, proportional to the need and in coordination with the government of Iraq", AP reported. Gen. Jonathan Braga, the coalition's director of operations, said in a statement. Gen. James Glynn said that the USA would continue to support Iraqi forces, but that there would likely be a shift in "capabilities".

While the USA has closely backed key Iraqi military victories over IS such as the retaking of the city of Mosul, 's Shiite-led paramilitary forces with close ties to Iran have called for the withdrawal of US forces. In 2014, at the height of the Sunni militant group's power, Daesh controlled almost a third of Iraqi territory.

If the drawdown is true, it represents the first of its kind since the war against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) was launched over three years ago. The same month, the Pentagon said there were roughly 5,200 American forces in Iraq.

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But the timely support by Iran helped Syria and Iraq fight off ISIS.

While defeated on the battlefield, USA military planners have expected ISIS to switch to insurgent tactics, carrying out high-profile terror attacks in Iraq.

Hadithi's comment came after media reports said that the USA troops were seen withdrawing their soldiers, weapons and equipment during the past week to redeploy them in Afghanistan. Their ongoing presence is politically sensitive for Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is facing national elections in March.

The coalition will not provide information on specific countries' contributions to the plans, the release said.

"We will redouble our efforts to develop the Iraqi Security Forces, ensuring they have the necessary capability and expertise to meet current and future security threats", Maj.

  • Megan Austin